PESHAWAR: With the elections less than a month away, a lot of the attention has turned towards what the different candidates have to offer, particularly what they have done in the past in the constituency. While candidates have filed with the ECP claims of what they did, reality can be a little different.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had made it mandatory for contesting candidates to state in their assets and liabilities forms what they had done to uplift the people of their constituency in their past tenures either as members of the national or provincial assemblies.
Former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Pervez Khattak listed in his asset and liability forms — filed with his candidacy papers for the upcoming general elections —that he had completed a number of development projects for the betterment of the people of the province including construction of schools.
A scorecard on this, by a government report no less, details the exact number of schools he built in his own constituency and their conditions, PK-13 Nowshera-II and NA-5.
According to the Annual Statistical Report of Government Schools 2017-18, it showed that the government had built four primary schools in the city, two each for boys and girls. It was accompanied by a single middle school over the past year.
Khattak though failed to build even a single high or higher secondary school in the area in the past year.
However, over the course of his five-year tenure at the helm of the provincial government, his home district saw 27 new primary schools being built. While additional middle or high schools were not built from scratch, the government did upgrade 46 primary schools to the middle, and 40 middle schools to high schools. A further 26 high schools were upgraded to higher secondary schools.
While some schools were built and others upgraded, a number of schools in Khattak’s home constituency require uplifting themselves.
The report said that 240 rooms in different primary schools were in a dilapidated condition, requiring major repairs. A further 93 rooms in primary schools require complete reconstruction.
Similarly, around 58 rooms in middle schools, 211 rooms in high schools and 132 in higher secondary schools need to be rebuilt.
The report further showed that 15 schools in the district do not have any boundary walls, 51 have no clean drinking water, 100 are without electricity and 20 have no toilets.
Further, district rankings by the K-P Elementary and Secondary Education Department placed Nowshera on number seven for the availability of basic facilities in schools.
Last week, the Center for Governance and Public Accountability (CGPA) in a statement had claimed that out of the Rs837 million earmarked in developmental funds, Rs557 million was apparently at the discretion of Khattak. The former chief minister allocated Rs490 million of this sum for Nowshera. However, it seems education was ignored despite claims by the former chief minister.
In the May 2013 general election, Khattak had won on a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ticket, securing 27,012 votes in PK-13 to beat his biggest competitor, Muhammad Shahid of the Awami National Party (ANP) who secured 14,893 votes and Mufti Imtiaz Ali of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) who secured 8,163 votes and competition from seven other hopefuls.
This time, Khattak is competing on three seats including National Assembly seat of NA-25 Nowshera-I and two provincial assembly seats of PK-61 Nowshera-I and PK-64 Nowshera-IV on PTI tickets.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2018.