K-P urges federal audit of anti-terror funds

Province had received Rs470b under this head during the nine-year PTI rule

Our Correspondent August 26, 2023


The caretaker government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) has formally requested the federal government’s assistance in conducting a comprehensive audit of the anti-terrorism funds that were allocated to the province during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) governmen’s tenure.

This request was conveyed through an official letter to the central authorities, specifically addressing the finance department and emphasizing the importance of transparency and accountability in fund utilization.

The motivation for this audit request stems from a commitment made by the then Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif. He had pledged that dedicated scrutiny of the Rs470 billion funds, channelled by the federal government under the counter-terrorism allocation, would be conducted to ensure their proper and rightful utilization.

The K-P caretaker government has taken this commitment seriously and urged the involvement of the Auditor General of Pakistan to lead the audit team, ensuring impartiality and credibility. The letter underlines the need to precisely determine the quantum of funds received by K-P as per the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award.

Read PM orders probe into K-P terror fund use

The allocated funds for police, home affairs, and tribal departments also require meticulous assessment, with a focus on contrasting the increased expenses within the police department against other provincial sectors.

The efficacy of the disbursed funds should be gauged accurately, assessing their impact on the designated areas. Furthermore, the caretaker government has called for an in-depth inquiry into the specific deployment of these anti-terrorism funds for various projects and initiatives.

Given that K-P’s share in the NFC Award is one per cent, the province has received a total of Rs415 billion during the nine-year rule of the PTI. However, the utilization and effectiveness of these funds are yet to be thoroughly examined.

The background to this audit request unveils Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s directive earlier this year.

During a meeting at the Governor House in Peshawar with K-P’s political leadership, he expressed the federal government’s commitment to promptly settle outstanding net hydel profits. Amid discussions, the issue of dues exceeding Rs180 billion was raised, and Shehbaz assured that these financial obligations would be met without delay.

Sharif reiterated his party’s unwavering support for K-P, assuring that dues would be expedited to alleviate the province’s financial concerns. However, he also voiced the necessity for a thorough investigation into the Rs470 billion allocated for combating terrorism.

He stressed that these funds should have been dedicated to benefit the populace and warned of potential legal actions if their usage did not align with this purpose.

Critically addressing the previous administration’s financial management, Sharif attributed the province’s economic challenges to their lack of competence, leading to a cycle of debt accumulation. His discourse extended to concrete measures taken to alleviate the province’s hardships, such as the provision of free flour in response to a flour crisis.

Collaborative approaches were encouraged among ruling coalition parties to effectively address people’s concerns.


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