Centre’s panel for ex-Fata funding unconstitutional, insists KP chief minister

Published January 15, 2023
This file photo shows Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan. — DawnNewsTV/File
This file photo shows Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan. — DawnNewsTV/File

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Saturday lashed out at the federal government for forming a committee to disburse development funds in tribal districts and insisted that the move was unconstitutional.

Addressing the oath-taking ceremony for the newly-elected cabinet and governing body of the Peshawar Press Club here, the chief minister said the steering committee notified by the federal government for the disbursement of development funds to tribal districts had no legal standing and was unconstitutional after the enactment of the 25th Constitutional Amendment.

He said the appointment of a civil servant as that committee’s chairman and the provincial governor as its member was incomprehensible.

“We will challenge the notification at every level as it is tantamount to usurping the rights of the province,” he said.

Mahmood says move to be challenged at ‘every level’

Mr Mahmood said the entire development planning and identification of projects under the Accelerated Implementation Programme had been carried out by the provincial government, whereas the current federal government was hesitant to provide funds to tribal districts due to political motives.

He said it was unfortunate that the federal government didn’t provide the budgeted funds to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while giving away huge funds to MNAs of the ruling PDM under the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Out of the allocated Rs55 billion development budget for tribal districts, the federal government has thus far provided Rs5 billion only in a clear violation of the rights of the province,” he said.

The chief minister said his government was paying salary to officials in tribal districts as well as funds for the Sehat Card initiative in the region from its own resources.

He condemned the terrorist attack on the Sarband police stationand declared it a heinous crime against humanity.

Mr Mahmood said the provincial police were fighting terrorism on the front line, while the entire population stood with them for peace.

He criticised interior minister Rana Sanaullah over making “ridiculous statements against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police” and said members of the federal cabinet were booked for the June 2014 Lahore Model Town killings.

The chief minister said the people didn’t trust the “imported” federal cabinet and even international donors were hesitant to provide aid to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s administration.

About the flour crisis in the province, he said the province’s annual requirement was five million metric tons of wheat but got 1.2 million metric tons.

He said as the other provinces increased wheat support price, the price of flour automatically went up in KP.

Mr Mahmood said the provincial government had increased the daily quota of subsidised wheat to flour mills from 5,000 metric tons to 6,500 metric tons to regulate wheat prices substantially.

He also said his government was providing a Rs35 billion subsidy on wheat to provide the people with flour at a rate lower than the market’s.

The ceremony was also attended by higher education minister Kamran Bangash, special assistant to the chief minister on information Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif, information secretary Arshad Khan, director-general (information) Imdadullah and others.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2023

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