K-P Assembly approves Rs159b March budget

House allows use of assembly hall for presidential election

Our Correspondent March 05, 2024
photo: express


The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly on Monday approved a one-month Rs159 billion provincial budget to meet the expenses of government departments for the month of March despite objections raised by opposition lawmakers.

The house, with Speaker Babar Salim Swati in the chair, also formed a committee for nominating the panel of chairmen and passed a resolution allowing the assembly hall’s use as a polling station for the upcoming presidential election, scheduled for March 9.

At the outset of the session, Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur presented a Rs159 billion budget for the month of March. However, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker Ahmad Kundi opposed the motion, terming it unconstitutional.

Kundi argued that financial matters had to be brought to the house by the provincial government. He added that the chief minister had yet to form his cabinet which meant that there was currently no government in the province as the chief minister alone did not constitute the government.

Opposition leader Dr Ibadullah advised the chief minister to name a two-member cabinet to complete the government. Dr Ibadullah stressed that, when the budget could be presented legally, there was no need to do things in violation of the law and the Constitution.

Defending the budget motion, government member Akbar Ayub stressed the house’s authority in such matters, saying that a similar motion had carried in the Punjab Assembly two days ago. Other treasury lawmakers also supported Ayub’s contention.

Zahir Shah said that, according to Article 129, the chief minister was the head of the provincial government. In that context, he said, government did exist in the province. The speaker later put the motion for a vote which was approved by the majority.

Later, Chief Minister Gandapur moved the resolution by suspending normal proceedings under Rule 240 to seek permission to use the assembly chamber as a polling station for the election of the president, due on Saturday. The motion was approved unanimously.

The house also formed the Masnad Nasheen Committee, comprising Zahir Shah, Muhammad Idris and Abdul Islam of the ruling Sunni Ittehad Council, and Ahmed Kundi of the PPP. The speaker also announced the petition committee, comprising Deputy Speaker Suraya Bibi, Aftab Alam, Faisal Khan, Mohammad Naeem, Zahir Shah, Arbab Mohammad Wasim, and Rashad Khan.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 5th, 2024.



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