Mass resignation: Abbottabad tehsil council nears dissolution

Issue arose over ADP funds, budget announcement


Our Correspondent February 05, 2016
Tehsil council convener Sardar Shujah Ahmed. PHOTO: FILE

ABBOTABAD: The crisis in Abbottabad tehsil council is likely to end with the body’s dissolution as 28 opposition members in the house have handed in their resignations, an insider privy to the matter told The Express Tribune.

This happened after the Election Commission of Pakistan decided to de-seat the district nazim, naib nazim and 12 other members of Abbottabad district council under Section 78-A of the local government act.

According to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz tehsil councillor Muhammad Riaz from Pattak Kalan union council, the ruling party was running the house unlawfully and against ethics since day one. “This is evident from the recent dispute over the allocation of the Annual Development Programme funds and the budget.”

Fund distribution

He added tehsil nazim Ishaq Sulemani passed an ADP budget of Rs280 million after the convener adjourned the house following a protest by the opposition which did not receive copies of the document. “They have totally ignored the opposition and kept 28 members in the dark,” he said. Riaz added that the tehsil nazim lacked decision-making power and was dancing to the tune of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNA, MPAs and ministers.

However, Riaz said they would not accept such an environment as they were answerable to their voters. “When we cannot defend the rights of our voters and get a single development scheme approved for our respective areas, we have no right to stay in the council anymore.”

Riaz confirmed 23 members of PML-N, four of PTI’s forward bloc and one from Jamaat-e-Islami have decided in principle to tender their resignations. To a question, Riaz responded that the decision had been taken and the members handed over their resignations to opposition leader Hanif Abbasi.

He added they empowered him to submit their resignations any time if the ruling party does not change its attitude and accept their demand of getting the budget passed properly from the house and allocate equal funds for all members. Riaz also accused PTI’s tehsil nazim of spending ADP funds on “buying” opposition members.

Opposition

When approached for comments, tehsil council convener Sardar Shujah Ahmed confirmed the opposition members have tendered their resignations. He said the opposition leader would submit them to the deputy commissioner. This would send the house packing immediately as 28 members of 57 would no longer be part of it. He added running the house had become difficult due to disputes that arose after the unlawful act of the tehsil nazim and ruling party.

“The situation demands that members go back to their electorate for a fresh mandate.” He added, “I will also tender my resignation for the reason that PTI ministers, MPAs and MNAs took [the funds] hostage and want to run it against the spirit of Local Government Act 2013.”

Ahmed, who was elected as an independent and later joined JI, also accused the tehsil nazim and PTI of promoting the culture of commissions and corruption.

Meanwhile, the opposition members also filed a petition against the tehsil nazim and tehsil municipal officer for not issuing budget copies. When contacted, the tehsil nazim was not available as he was in a corner meeting.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2016.

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