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July 15, 2020

Opposition flays govt for delay in NFC Award


July 15, 2020

PESHAWAR: The debate on the National Finance Commission Award continued in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on the second consecutive day on Tuesday as the opposition members came down hard on the government for the delay in the announcement of the award.

Initiating the debate, Inayatullah Khan of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) said unfortunately the 8th National Finance Commission Award could not be implemented even after 10 years.

The commission was constituted twice but was challenged in the court as it was constituted in violation of the Constitution.

He said in the 2017 census, the Punjab population was reduced, Sindh remained unchanged but KP and Balochistan’s population increased.

The lawmaker said the KP population reached 17 percent from 13. The National Assembly seats were readjusted according to the new censes, but resources distribution still remained undecided, he added.

He said the provincial government, Finance Department should raise the issue in the Council of Common Interests (CCI), which was a relevant forum.

If the Award is not constituted, then the province be released its share as per 2017 population result. This House should pass a unanimous resolution over the issue, he suggested.

Ahmad Kundi of the Pakistan People’s Party said NFC is the only forum for the distribution of financial resources among provinces.

“The provincial government should come out of the slumber and raise voice for its rights. Our province has 1,231 kilometre border with Afghanistan and has seven/eight trade routes which if opened, could earn billions for not only for the province but also the country,” he argued.

“India has so far given 15 financial awards regularly on every fifth year as compared to our four awards but our rulers are even reluctant to constitute the award after 10 years as per the constitution,” he added.

He said the chief minister should avail his constitutional right of forwarding request for convening the meeting.

Khushdil Khan of the Aami National Party said former President Asif Zardari deserved appreciation and salute for constituting the seventh NFC Award.

He said Ameer Haider Hoti and late Haji Muhammad Adeel also deserved appreciation for playing a role in the historical award.

“Why the provincial government is reluctant to form a parliamentary jirga for raising the issues with the federal government?” he posed a question.

He questioned the nomination of Musharraf Rasool as the KP member in the proposed NFC, saying does a man from Punjab know the province’s problems, culture and can he properly take up the province case.

Naeema Kishwar of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl said it was issue of the whole province and both the government and opposition should joint hands for it.

“It was ironic that some elements are bent upon undoing the 18th Constitutional Amendment which secured provincial rights. The three percent pledged for ex-Fata was also not provided during the last three years,” she complained and said the president violated the Constitution while constituting the new NFC Award and that’s why it was challenged.

Mir Kalam Khan from Waziristan said it was time to unite for achieving the province rights. He complained the population of ex-Fata was reduced in the census.

“The tribal areas were deprived of the facilities available on eastern border though billions of rupees can be generated through trade routes in the tribal areas. These areas were merged [with KP] to occupy the mines and minerals there,” he believed.

Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz parliamentary leader Sardar Yousaf blamed delay in the constitution of the NFC Award on the PTI responsibility for being in power in the province and Centre.

The chief minister should raise the issue in CCI meeting and stress for early implementation of the award.

The ANP Sardar Hussain Babak said it is clear in the constitution that the share in the next NFC Award would be increased, but efforts are being made to reduce the provinces shares.

He said attempts were being made to rollback 18th Amendment, make NFC Award controversial by naming non-residents as the KP and Balochistan representatives.

He was critical of the establishment for usurping national resources and not allowing democracy to flourish in the country.

Hafiz Hissamuddin of JUI-F and Bilawal Afridi of the Balochistan Awami Party also spoke on the issue and called for early constitution of the NFC Award.

Deputy speaker Mehmood Jan, who presided over the sitting, referred to the relevant committee the privilege motions of Waqar Khan of the ANP and Sardar Khan of PML-N against Assistant Director (AD) local governments, Swat for avoiding both the MPAs in consultation about uplift schemes in their constituencies (PK-3 and 7) and not taking their calls.

Inayatullah Khan, Sirajud Din and Humera Khatoon of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) moved a joint call attention notice regarding non-payment of salaries to the 1200 ad hoc doctors.

However, Law Minister Sultan Muhammad said the salaries were actually delayed because of process of verification. The House witness a rumpus when opposition members interrupted advisor to chief minister on finance Ghazan Jamal who was replying the opposition points regarding NFC Award. Khushdil Khan objected that only a minister can present government point of view and advisor was not authorized, which led to adjournment of the sitting till July 17 at 3 pm.