Calling on the federal government to share security expenditures, Balochistan Finance Minister Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran on Sunday said that out of the Rs192 billion development budget, Rs50 billion are being spent on the maintenance of law and order.
Addressing a news conference at the Chief Minister Secretariat, he said that Balochistan shares borders with two countries and three provinces, and it has been turned into a war zone, with the situation in Afghanistan affecting it as well.
“It is our responsibility to stop the influx of terrorists from neighbouring countries,” he said, adding that Balochistan, the jugular vein of Pakistan, is on the frontline against terrorism, and has not allowed the fire to spread to other parts of the country.
He said that the budget allocated for law and order is 13 per cent of the total budget of the province. An amount of Rs1.2 billion is being provided to the police department, Rs29 billion to the Levies and Rs13 billion to the prisons department, he added. He further said that Rs2.5 billion is being paid to the FC and other forces.
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Pointing out that Balochistan covers 50 per cent of the area of Pakistan, Khetran said that Sindh was spending Rs124 billion while Punjab was spending Rs158 billion on law and order.
He demanded that the federal government should bear the burden of the province’s law and order expenses. Just like Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) is given one per cent under the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, Balochistan should also be given additional funds, he added.
He said that Levies were spread out across 95 per cent of Balochistan and police in five per cent areas.
Commenting on other matters, the finance minister said that the issue of Reko Diq was solved with the personal interest of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Balochistan would now get a 25 per cent share in the project.
He said that the provincial government was also considering the Sindh agreement and Balochistan would get a historic share in the Sindh project. He further said that the provincial government was paying Rs48 billion in pensions.
Mines rules will also be changed, Khetran said, adding that reinstatement orders will be issued to C&W department employees this week.
The finance minister said that Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qaddos Bizenjo has given priority to the entire province in the budget for the next fiscal year.
In the past, lawmakers protested inside and outside the assembly over the unfair distribution of the budget, but this is the first time that none of the government or opposition members in the Balochistan Assembly objected to the budget, he highlighted.
About 70 per cent of the budget for the new financial year has been allocated for ongoing schemes, he said.
He said that the deficit in the budget for the new financial year is 15 per cent less than the previous budget. He added that the present government had held local body elections in 32 districts of Balochistan, and Rs16 billion was allocated for the polls.
The provincial minister said that for the first time, the services of Pakistan Army or FC were not used for elections and were kept on standby while the police and Levies played an important role in maintaining law and order.
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