QUETTA: Balochistan Assembly members have criticised the provincial government for not releasing Zakat funds even after the start of Ramazan.
The lawmakers said the decision of the religious affairs department has aggravated the suffering of the poor.
The issue was taken up by Nasarullah Zerey of the opposition PkMAP party during Monday’s session presided over by Speaker Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali.
Soon after the chair deferred the question hour due to the absence of ministers concerned, Mr Zerey took the floor to draw the house’s attention towards the matter. He added Balochistan has Rs2 billion in Zakat funds but the religious affairs department secretary was reluctant to release the funds to district and union zakat committees for distribution.
He said poor people were visiting zakat committees’ offices and asking for help in the holy month of Ramazan. “The chief minister should take notice of the situation and ask the officials concerned to immediately release the funds,” the PkMAP lawmaker demanded.
He also pointed out that the administration was imposing fines on profiteers but they weren’t being issued any receipt to deposit the fine. The officials are receiving fine payments on the spot, Mr Zerey claimed.
He said that the commissioner should be summoned to explain the situation.
Mir Ahmed Nawaz Baloch of BNP-Mengal also spoke on the zakat fund and said the issue should be referred to the concerned standing committee for a probe. The speaker summoned the religious affairs department secretary in the standing committee to explain the reason for not releasing the required funds.
Earlier, the House passed the Ziarat Valley Development Authority Bill moved by Planning and Development Minister Noor Muhammad Dummar.
Opposition leader, Malik Sikandar Khan said although his party was not happy over how the bill was moved in the house, it voted in favour of it as Ziarat valley’s development would benefit people.
Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2023
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