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December 5, 2020

Auditor General’s report on corona spending echoes in KP Assembly

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December 5, 2020

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly witnessed heated debate on Friday over the Auditor General's report regarding the provincial Health Department and alleged irregularities in spending on the treatment of the coronavirus patients.

Opposition leader Mohammad Akram Khan Durrani while speaking on his call attention notice said the government and department concerned had committed irregularities in spending on coronavirus treatment and prevention. "Funds are being released to irrelevant and irresponsible people and there are no proper arrangements in hospitals for this task," he alleged.

He said people were being harassed in the name of Covid-19 while the bazaars and markets were closed without prior notice. The business community is suffering and the education system has come to a halt due to the wrong policies of the rulers, he stated.

Reading out the 85 paras from the Auditor General's report 2015-16, Durrani said misappropriation of millions of rupees had been identified in the Health Department's spending.

The treasury and opposition members exchanged barbs when Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra objected to Akram Khan Durrani's utterances, saying according to rules there should be no speech over call attention notice. The minister said after the call attention he should be given the floor to offer a reply. He said the Auditor General’s report was in process and would come to the Public Accounts Committee when finalized. The opposition should have discussed the situation with the secretary health in time instead of holding public meetings, he added.

He said the purchases for tackling Covid-19 were made in an emergency and those responsible would be brought to book if any irregularities were found. He said the government wanted to provide free healthcare facilities to the people and the whole population of the province would get an Insaf Health Card by the end of January.

Law Minister Sultan Mohammad Khan also objected to the report, saying the opposition leader shared something that wasn't unauthentic.

Earlier, the assembly members including Akram Khan Durrani, Inayatullah Khan, Sardar Muhammad Yousuf, Nighat Orakzai, Khushdil Khan and Shaukat Yousufzai paid glowing tributes to former prime minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali. Fateha was offered for the departed soul of Zafarullah Jamali, ex-MPA Dr Zakirullah Khan and the wife of MPA Fazle Shakoor Khan.

The House adopted a unanimous privilege motion of Nisar Mohmand, the Awami National Party (ANP) MPA from Mohmand district, against the director general mines and minerals and sent it to the privilege committee. The mover also alleged irregularities in awarding of contracts and mining tax. The adjournment motion of Nighat Orakzai of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) regarding female students in the universities was also accepted for detailed discussion.

The members expressed anger and concern over the increasing cases of violence against children and called for effective measures to curb such incidents in the province.

Khushdil Khan and Salahuddin of the ANP through a joint call attention notice said a few days back a small boy Tahirullah was murdered in the provincial assembly constituency PK-70 and his burnt body was recovered from the nearby fields. They said angry residents of the area staged a sit-in and blocked the road in protest but the culprits are still at large.

The movers said it was the fourth incident of its kind but the government has failed to provide protection to the citizens, which was its prime responsibility. They also demanded financial assistance for the victim's family.

Akram Durrani while taking the floor said such incidents were on the rise in the province and it showed the government's failure. He criticized the chief minister for not coming to the provincial assembly.

In his reply, Law Minister Sultan Muhammad said the government was aware of its responsibilities and the culprits behind the Badaber incident would be brought to justice. He said some suspects had been arrested and investigation was taking place.

Taimur Jhagra and Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Information Kamran Bangash had visited the bereaved family and compensation would also be provided to it, he added.

Meanwhile, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Code of Civil Procedure (amendment) Ordinance, 2020 and the KP Schools Bag (limitation of weight) Bill, 2020 were tabled in the House.