The federal government released unprecedented development funds under the much-trumpeted Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan Package – but on the ground, this didn’t make much difference.
This was revealed by a 10-member special cabinet committee in its final assessment in October 2012, a highly placed source told The Express Tribune. “Such packages are not demand-driven and hence, are not achieving desired results,” the report stated.
Headed by Defence Minister Naveed Qamar, the committee comprised Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Law Minister Farooq Naek, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Postal Services Minister Sardar Umer Gorgeij, Science and Technology Minister Changez Khan Jamali and senior bureaucrats.
The committee was formed by the federal cabinet in July, 2012 a) to assess the reasons for the volatile security situation in Balochistan, b) to identify the options available to authorities on the desired course of action, and c) to propose remedies.
On July 2, last year, Premier Raja Pervaiz Ashraf oversaw a high-level review of Agaz-e-Haqooq package. At the meeting, he said the PPP-led government was making serious efforts to resolve the Balochistan issue. In this regard, he cited release of funds, creation of jobs for Baloch youths and a presidential apology for the past excesses to the province.
But Jan Jamali, the former deputy chairman of Senate, alleges that major chunk of money received under the Agaz-e-Haqooq package was misappropriated by then chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani and his “jumbo cabinet”.
“By and large the package remained on paper and its benefits didn’t trickle down to the people of Balochistan,” Jamali told The Express Tribune.
In the Balochistan Assembly, 64 out of total 65 members were receiving Rs250-300 million annually for development schemes without any oversight or accountability.
The cabinet committee’s assessment showed that the federal government had achieved 42 targets out of a total of 61 in the proposal package by February 23, 2012. Another review showed the federal government had achieved 43 targets by June 4, 2012.
The review documents further revealed that “all six targets pertaining to constitutional matters have been achieved. These include:
1. The concurrent list has been abolished and 17 ministries have been devolved to the provinces
2. The sixth schedule has been done away with following the passage of the 18th Constitutional Amendment
3. The Council of Common Interest has been reinforced
4. Balochistan’s share in the NFC award has been increased from Rs45 billion in 2009 to Rs83 billion in 2010, Rs93 billion in 2011 and Rs114 billion in 2012-13.
5. Articles 154, 155, 156,157,158 and 159 have been reformed. The articles pertained to the issues of CCI, Water, National Economic Council and Electricity
According to the reviews, two out of the five issues of political nature have been also been resolved, and 12 out of 16 subject matters of administrative nature have been addressed, while 22 economy-related issues out of a total of 34 have also been addressed, leaving 18 proposals still under implementation.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2013.