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September 5, 2020

Non-provision of funds: Opp in KP Assembly threatens to move court

Peshawar

September 5, 2020

PESHAWAR: Opposition in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday threatened to move the court against the non-provision of development funds and releases to Members National Assembly (MNAs) from the provincial exchequer.

Initiating the debate, Inayatullah Khan of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) said the opposition members were being ignored in the allocation of development funds despite the government’s assurance and an understanding reached with the opposition for the purpose. He said the opposition members had moved the court of law, but the government did not implement the court verdict, forcing the opposition to seek help from the court again. Following the court verdict, he recalled that the government had constituted a committee consisting of five members each from the treasury and opposition to settle the matter. However, he added neither the committee held its meeting nor the funds were released to the opposition.

He said instead of issuing funds for the constituencies of the opposition members, the government was releasing money to MNAs from the provincial exchequer, which was violation of rules and contempt of court. He warned that the opposition would have no option, but to move the court again if the discrimination continued, adding that the government would be responsible if development work was stopped in the province as result of the court verdict against the discrimination.

The JI lawmaker maintained that the budget and the Annual Development Programme was passed by the MPAs and MNAs had no role in the provincial matters and giving them funds was unjustified. Khushdil Khan of Awami National Party (ANP) also supported the point and warned of moving the Peshawar High Court (PHC) against discrimination in the issuance of the development funds.

He said the opposition members had equal right over the development funds like the treasury. He said the treasury members were issued Rs200 million. He said the finance minister had allocated Rs500 million for his own constituency and even Rs200 million were allocated to the governor but he being a member from the opposition was allocated just Rs35 million. “We will not demand any allocation if the money is given from the PTI funds, but the electorate from our constituencies have the same right over the public exchequer and taxpayers’ money of the people,” he argued.

He asked the chief minister to allocate development to the members on equality basis or else the opposition would exercise the right to go to the court of law. Badshah Saleh of PPP also complained about discrimination in the distribution of uplift funds and said the electorate from the opposition also had the right over development schemes.

Earlier, the House unanimously adopted a condemnation resolution against a French magazine for publishing blasphemous sketches. The resolution moved by Inayatullah and signed by Nighat Orakzai, Sardar Yousaf Zaman and Qalandar Lodhi read, ‘This House strongly condemns the management of the French magazine for announcing to re-publish the sacrilegious sketches. The French magazine wants to hurt the religious feelings of more than one and a half billion Muslims by publishing controversial stuff. The Muslims would never tolerate such dreadful designs of the magazine. Therefore, this assembly recommends to the federal government to utilise diplomatic means and raise the issue at international forums to stop publication of such controversial and blasphemous stuff in future.”

The House also passed with majority a resolution calling for officially observing September 4 as World Hijab Day. The resolution moved by Humera Khatoon of the JI reads, September 4 is being observed as ‘Aalami Yaum-e-Hijab’ and Hijab is not only Islamic tradition but part of our culture that’s why this assembly recommend to the federal government to officially observe 4th September being observed worldwide as World Hijab Day. However, the Awami national Party (ANP) opposed the resolution. ANP parliamentary leader Sardar Babak said it was tantamount to using religion for political gains. He said his party would not support the resolution, terming it exploiting religion for political purposes. Inayatullah presented arguments, supporting the resolution. He said Pakistan came into being on the basis of Islamic ideology and there was nothing political in the resolution. Other parties including the treasury supported the resolution. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Antiquities (amendment) Bill, 2020 and KP Forensic Science Agency, Bill 2020 were also introduced in the House. Deputy speaker Mehmood Jan while adjourning the session till Monday 3pm announced debate on development funds would continue.