Budget 2013: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa govt seeks popular opinion in pre-budget jirgas

Published: April 13, 2012
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Provincial finance minister says education, health and unemployment eradication will be key priorities. PHOTO: FILE

Provincial finance minister says education, health and unemployment eradication will be key priorities. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has come up with a novel idea to combine the mundane, but essential, task of creating a budget with the region’s most ancient democratic tradition: pre-budget jirgas.

In an effort to shore up the government’s popularity through what is likely to be the last budget before the next general election, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Finance Minister Humayun Khan has been addressing pre-budget jirgas in different parts of the province to get elected officials and other stakeholders involved in the budget-drafting process.

Humayun has already held such jirgas in Mardan and Abbottabad and on Thursday addressed a similar gathering in Peshawar at the Press Club, a meeting sponsored by the British government’s Department for International Development.

“We will give serious considerations to proposals put forward by all stakeholders, including assembly members and provincial ministers,” said the finance minister. “In the next budget, education and health will be on the priority list.”

The parliamentary system envisioned in Pakistan’s constitution grants considerable authority to the finance minister and the civil service to draft the budget, leaving little room for any debate or input from anyone else in the legislature, let alone anyone outside government. The pre-budget jirgas seem to be an informal means of trying to circumvent that institutional concentration of financial authority.

In a province wracked by a Taliban insurgency, the minister was keen to highlight his government’s track record in on education and employment. “The Awami National Party-led coalition government has established eight universities and cadet colleges in Mardan, Buner, Swabi, Chitral and other areas. We started the Bacha Khan Khapal Rozgar Scheme to eradicate unemployment in the province and it is being run without political interference,” he said.

“Our financial resources are limited. That is why funds cannot be provided to every project. But even so, our main priority is developmental projects and we are trying our level best to increase the size of the Annual Development Program as much as possible,” he said.

The jirga was attended by Speaker Kiramtualla Charmati, Aqil Shah, Ayub Shari, Haji Nemroze, Wajid Ali, Arshad Abdullah, Abdul Akbar Khan and others.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • MAD
    Apr 13, 2012 - 3:26PM

    I thought we were trying to ban jirgas?

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  • Blithe
    Apr 13, 2012 - 4:35PM

    Remember , the note has picture of the Quaid ,
    not the devisive Bacha Khan.

    Naming buildings, airports and schemes after an anti Pakistan
    leader is not a good idea.

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  • Sher Shah Suri
    Apr 14, 2012 - 5:13AM

    @Blithe: You obviously need to read up on the history of the Sub-Continent, the people that gave you liberation from the British Empire was the Philosphy of Fakhir-e- Afghan Bacha Khan and Mahatma Ghandi. Fakhir-e-Afghan Bacha Khan was not against the creation of Pakistan, but the division of India, had India not be torn apart, today the Muslim would have been the Majority. The Muslims would not have been in the predicament as they are today vis-a-vie Pakistan and the Indian Muslim.

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