PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Tuesday approved the current financial year’s Rs306.52 billion supplementary budget, including Rs292.9 billion current and Rs13.5 billion development expenditure.

The budget had smooth sailing due to the withdrawal of cut motions by lawmakers a day ago.

Speaker Babar Saleem Swati presided over the session, in which finance minister Aftab Alam moved the supplementary budget, comprising 15 demands for grants.

The house passed them all, one by one.

Opposition leader demands probe into ‘irregularities’ in two hydropower projects

Out of the total current supplementary budget, Rs14 billion was for the salary of tehsil government employees, Rs4.1 billion for pension, Rs1.33 billion for the public health engineering department, and Rs1.49 billion for the administration of justice.

After the passage of the budget, Leader of the Opposition Dr. Ibadullah Khan demanded that the speaker form a house committee to probe the alleged irregularities in Gibral-Kalam and Madian hydropower projects.

He said the two projects cost around Rs125 billion, and around Rs1 billion of the amount had been utilised with no construction work seen on the ground.

Dr. Khan claimed that authorities spent those funds on the payment of salaries, the purchase of vehicles, and other perks and privileges of employees.

He claimed that the World Bank, the lender for both projects, too, had expressed concern about irregularities in both projects.

The opposition leader said Swat and Kohistan districts could generate 42000MW electricity without polluting the environment, against the national requirement of 1443MW.

He said the speaker should form a house committee to identify those involved in the irregularities of both power projects for exemplary punishment.

The speaker asked the provincial government to direct the home department to remove “confusion” among lawmakers in the Upper South Waziristan tribal district about the killing of five members of a local family.

The development came as a lawmaker in the district raised the issue.

The speaker said that the MPA had claimed that family members were killed in an alleged drone attack, while the government had declared that they were killed due to an explosion inside the house.

Earlier, MPA Asif Khan from Upper South Waziristan district informed the house that several days ago, five people from a family were killed inside their house in a “drone attack.”

However, the government clarified the matter in a statement, claiming that the people were killed in an explosion inside their house.

“I was not taken into the loop by the government before the issuance of the statement,” Mr Khan said.

He added that the government had announced compensation for the relatives of the deceased and even tendered an apology.

The house also unanimously passed a resolution to condone the deaths of the Iranian president and other officials in a helicopter crash.

“This house expressed its deepest condolences and sorrow over the tragic helicopter incident that resulted in the deaths of the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, foreign minister Hussain Amir Abdullah, and other esteemed personalities,” read the resolution, which was tabled by PPP member Ahmad Kareem Kundi.

It added that in the current moment of profound sorrow, the assembly extended its heartfelt condolences to the Iranian people and the families of the deceased, reaffirming its unwavering support for and solidarity with them.

The chair later prorogued the session.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2024

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