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March 15, 2019

KP Assembly


March 15, 2019

Four PTI MPAs from Lower Dir yet to speak on any issue

By Nisar Mahmood

PESHAWAR: Four of the five lawmakers belonging to Lower Dir district are yet to break their silence or raise any issue related to their constituencies in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly despite passage of seven months.

In the July 2018 general election, five members of the provincial assembly (MPAs) were elected from Lower Dir. The district got one more seat each in the National Assembly and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly following the delimitation of constituencies. Earlier, Lower Dir had one seat in the National Assembly and four in the KP Assembly.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) bagged both the National Assembly and four out of the five provincial assembly seats in the general election. On the fifth provincial seat the Awami National Party (ANP) nominee was declared successful.

In August 2018 the members took their oath and started attending the assembly sessions. However, none of the four MPAs from the district elected on PTI ticket including Muhammad Azam Khan from PK-13, Humayun Khan from PK-14, Shafi Ullah from PK-15 and Liaqat Khan from PK-17 have so far raised through question any issue of their constituencies or moved an adjournment, call attention, privilege motion or resolution in the assembly.

They regularly attend the sessions, raise hands in support of the treasury benches when needed and listen to the debate in the House with patience, but haven't spoken on the floor yet.

One of them, Liaqat Khan, during his election campaign used to claim that "I will be the only MPA speaking on the floor for six months and will convince the government to divert all the development funds of the province to my constituency as it has been ignored in the past." But after taking oath, he has spoken on the floor just once. He was also the joint mover of the resolution against the Indian airstrikes in Balakot last month.

The public representatives from an underdeveloped district like Lower Dir seem to be more satisfied perhaps for inheriting constituencies that are relatively developed and because of the uplift projects executed by the previous lawmakers.

Former ministers including Muzaffar Sayyid of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Bakht Baidar and Mehmood Zaib Khan of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) have served as representatives from these constituencies in the past. Saeed Gul and Zakirullah Khan of JI and PPP's Ahmad Hasan Khan also represented the Lower Dir constituencies earlier. All the PTI MPAs are new entrants to politics and elected for the first time. They seem active in inaugurating development projects like gas supply, schools and college building, etc. in their constituencies launched or executed by their predecessors. They even take pride for the gas supply schemes that former Senator Zahid Khan of the ANP got sanctioned for the district.

The PTI MPAs have so far failed to represent the district in the assembly in a proper way and raise the problems and issues the constituents are faced with.

Compared to the PTI members, ANP MPA Bahadur Khan elected from PK-16 has been quite vocal in raising the issues of his constituency even though it is a little bit more developed than other constituencies.

His constituency was represented in the past by JI chief Sirajul Haq and ANP's Hidayatullah Khan. Both remained ministers and executed a number of uplift projects in the area. Interestingly, the elected public representatives from the neighbouring Upper Dir district including Inayatullah Khan of JI and Sahibzada Sanaullah and Badshah Saleh of PPP can be counted among the active lawmakers in the assembly.

The case of the two elected public representatives from Lower Dir in the National Assembly is no different as they too are among the silent spectators and have yet to speak on the floor of the House in Islamabad. This is the reason critics often pass remarks against them and say that Lower Dir is misrepresented.

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