K-P government rues lack of federal support

Ministers fear that political polarisation may halt some PTI projects in the province

Umer Farooq July 06, 2022
Both the companies had raised the issue that at the time of announcement of the Policy for Power Generation Projects 2002, there was no tax on payments made to an offshore supply contractor. PHOTO: FILE


While some political polarisation promotes genuine ideological debate often it comes with heavy costs for the general population such as hurdles in law making and projects of past governments getting stalled or discontinued.

The ongoing mud slinging and war of words between the ousted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the incumbent coalition government at the centre now has the potential to jeopardise the projects of the former PTI government in the centre and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), where it is still in power. One of these projects, which is likely to face the music as per PTI sources in the provincial government, is the Khyber Institute of Child Health (KICH) which started some 15 years ago but is still incomplete.

K-P government sources privy to the matter informed The Express Tribune that the project is nearly complete but is waiting for funds from the federal government as promised by the former PTI government.

When inquired about the status of KICH, the K-P government’s finance czar, Taimur Khan Jhagra, said that they were yet to know about which projects under the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) will be allocated funds in the federal budget.“KICH, Expo Centre at Tarnab, Liver Institute at Khyber Medical University and Northern Bypass are likely to be delayed,” K-P’s Finance Minister predicted, adding that the waiting game would continue until PSDP was presented in the Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC) which gives it approval and then the PSDP moves to the National Economic Council (NEC). Jhagra’s grievances with the federal government also extend to the National Finance Commission (NFC) award.

“The federal, Sindh, and incumbent Punjab governments are reluctant to share the burden with K-P since a 3% of the NFC to the provinces was promised for the newly merged districts but the promise has not yet materialised.” He informed that instead of the 3% promised previously an allocation of only Rs 50 billion was made.

“This amount is less than the annual salaries, how will the merged districts survive?” Jhagra quipped. On the other hand, Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) former parliamentary party leader, Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha, termed Jhagra’s assessment as baseless by stating that his party would never compromise on K-P’s rights.

“The PML-N has always been sincere with K-P and always supported it financially. So, how can Jhagra say we will discontinue projects? How many projects has the PTI executed in the province in its decade long rule?” The former PML-N leader further informed that they recently met Chief Minister (CM) Mehmood Khan and assured him all-out support. “We assured the CM that we will go to any extent for K-P’s rights,” Nalotha told The Express Tribune.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2022.


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