‘K-P govt to release funds or face contempt case’

Assembly resumes session today amid opposition protest


Ahtisham Bashir February 24, 2020
File photo of K-P Assembly. PHOTO: AFP

PESHAWAR: The provincial assembly will resume its session today (Monday) amid the opposition’s protest for release of development funds.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly Opposition Leader Akram Khan Durrani on Sunday told the media that he would meet the K-P chief secretary regarding the issue of development funds.

“If the government failed to release the funds, the opposition will approach court,” Durrani said.

The opposition leader Durrani said he along with opposition members would raise the issue with K-P chief secretary and if their demands were not fulfilled, their next move was to file a case in the court against him and the provincial government.

Durrani said: “The provincial government has directed the chief secretary, deputy commissioners of the province for not releasing the funds to the opposition members, while the speaker’s bi-partisan attitude has compelled us to take the ruling party to the court.”

The chief secretary, finance secretary and deputy commissioners would be made respondent in the contempt of court case as the court had already directed the provincial government for releasing the funds, he added.

Meanwhile, the K-P Information Minister Yousafzai in a statement said that the opposition was disrespecting the house by disrupting the smooth working of the house. Yousafzai said the opposition has violated the rules and decorum of the provincial assembly.  Such mess in the K-P Assembly had not been witnessed in the history, he said, adding that the opposition leaders have to apologise to the speaker and the house.

A source privy to the development told The Express Tribune that the provincial government had been persuading the opposition benches and had formed a committee for rapprochement but so far the opposition has not changed its plan of action.

The source said opposition has placed two demands before the government committee for ending their protest. The first demand was release of development funds while the second was an apology by the K-P Assembly speaker for his behavior towards the opposition. The speaker was the custodian of the house and should not discriminate against the opposition, the source added.

The opposition and treasury benches in the province had been at loggerheads over the release of development funds to provincial assembly lawmakers since the beginning of the current session.

The non-provision of uplift funds to the opposition lawmakers with just four months left in the fiscal year was the main reason for the protest by the opposition benches.

The opposition parties had protested against the absence of ministers from the house and the government’s attitude towards the house business. The K-P Assembly resumed last Monday after a gap of a month.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2020.

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