Centre to directly release funds to MPs

Published: January 30, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The federal government will directly release development funds to members of parliament, a National Assembly panel was informed on Wednesday.

The participants of a meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Housing and Works, chaired by MNA Najeeb Haroon, were also told that the design for 11,000 apartments — under the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme — had been prepared.

Housing Secretary Dr Imran Zeb told the committee that the construction work of 488 schemes of the housing ministry had come to a halt because the finance ministry had not released Rs3.40 billion approved by the cabinet division.

The secretary also said the decision to release development funds directly to national and provincial assembly members had been made.

“The rules will be amended in the next meeting of the federal cabinet, paving the way for directly transferring funds to parliamentarians,” he added.

MNA Agha Rafiullah pointed out that Prime Minister Imran Khan had described the direct transfer of funds to parliamentarians as “political bribery” in the past and now approved it for his party’s lawmakers.

MNA Munir Khan Orkazai alleged that the premier had also taken a U-turn on the development of erstwhile Fata. “The prime minister had said funds would be released for the former tribal areas for 10 years without any discrimination but now he has stopped the release of money to opposition parliamentarians,” he added.

The secretary informed the committee that the civil servants occupying Gulshan-e-Jinnah flats in Islamabad were evicted on the orders of the Supreme Court and they would be accommodated under the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme.

“The prime minister wants high-rise buildings constructed there where the old residents would be accommodated first,” he added. “This plan has been urban regeneration.”

The housing director general told the participants of the meeting that the Bhara Kahu Housing Scheme would be inaugurated next month. He added that 6,000 kanals had been purchased for an adjacent scheme.

“Around 10,000 plots will be handed over to the deserving people within a year,” he added.

PTI lawmakers have been pushing for the release of their development funds but Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry had recently opposed the move.

“This is not an issue of the Punjab government but a matter pertaining to distribution of resources. Arbitrary funds of chief ministers are against Article 140A … the provinces should transfer funds to districts the same way the Centre does it to the provinces … the chief ministers considers themselves kings and this is against public interest,” he wrote in a tweet.

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