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July 18, 2019

PHC stops utilisation of Rs283m allocated by KP CM for Jhagra’s constituency

National

July 18, 2019

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Wednesday stayed the utilisation of Rs283 million for various schemes directly allocated by the chief minister to finance minister through his discretionary powers.

A division bench comprising Justice Musarrat Hilali and Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim suspended the tender for development work. In an interim order, the bench stayed utilisation of the funds on the schemes till July 30 next hearing of the case.

The court issued interim order in a writ petition filed by Awami National Party Members Provincial Assembly, Khushdil Khan from PK-70, Salahuddin Mohmand from PK-71 and Samar Bilour from PK-78.

During arguments, the counsel for the petitioners submitted before the bench that the Supreme Court had declared discretionary funds for schemes by the chief minister as unconstitutional.

The lawyer questioned the huge allocation of funds by the chief minister by using his discretionary powers to a party minister and ignoring constituencies of the opposition members. He argued that in another case filed by opposition members of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, the high court had stopped the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister from allocating funds using discretionary powers, but the order was for the funds of the financial year 2018-19.

The lawyer pointed out before the court that Rs283 million has been allocated to the constituency of respondent No 2 (finance minister) PK-73 and his home village namely "Meira Kachori and Jhagra" falling in PK-69 Peshawar on the directives of respondent No 1 (provincial government).

The lawyer submitted that allocation of huge funds for party minister amounted to discrimination and favouritism and was violation of rules. It was pointed out before the bench that petitioner No 1 (Khushdil Khan) wrote a letter on June 22 this year to the chief minister for his unjustified allocation of huge funds for the constituency of a cabinet member, but it remained unanswered.

The petitioners stated that the Peshawar Development Authority director-general got a notice published in a local newspaper on July 2 and invited e-tenders from the contractors for the execution of the work in the constituency of the finance minister.

The petitioners stated that the impugned schemes sanctioned out of PIF (2018-19), which stands for Public Investment Fund, but this funds neither figured in the ADP 2018-19 and the funds were not approved by the provincial assembly.

It said the funds have been managed clandestinely by the chief minister through his directives for facilitating the finance minister at the cost of others, which is unfair, unjust and against the rights of people of other constituencies of Peshawar district, including the petitioners.

The lawmakers pointed out before the court that most of the areas of PK-73 are developed and posh comprising Hayatabad and University Town. They said constituencies of PK-70 and 71 have been adversely affected during militancy since 2008 and the infrastructure has been destroyed, which needs the immediate attention of the government. But for political differences, even a single penny has not been allocated to the constituencies of the petitioners, which is unfair.

The petitioners prayed before the court to declare the allocation of funds to the constituency of the finance minister as unconstitutional and against the rights of the people of other constituencies.

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