ISLAMABAD: A Senate panel on Wednesday fumed over issue of alleged irregularities in development projects being carried out by the federal government with cooperation of international organisations in tribal areas, calling for establishment of monitoring cell to stop nepotism in the area.
Senate Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions in its meeting called for a monitoring cell in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) Secretariat, Peshawar, to look carefully into the progress of development programmes being carried out in Fata.
The committee meeting chaired by Senator Muhammad Saleh Shah discussed in detail the Protected Relief and Recovery Operation Programme of 2013-2015 in Fata regarding school feeding, nutrition and food livelihood. Fata Social Cohesion and Peace Building Programme also came under discussion in the meeting.
“We want fair use of funds in tribal areas. There should be no nepotism and there should be no discrimination in awarding scholarships to students,” observed Senator Haji Ghulam Ali.
Pakistan and these [international] organisations must create cohesion for better mechanism, he told The Express Tribune.
The meeting was briefed that a total of $12.4 million spent on a number of projects for social cohesion and restoration of social services and infrastructure in tribal areas.
This amount was funded by the United Nations Development Programme, World Health Organisation, United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organisation and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and some other international donors.
Chairman of the committee Senator Saleh Shah emphasised on involving locals in national mainstream for their socio-economic uplift. “International organisations should involve locals. It is good to understand the local culture and issues,” he observed.
The committee was also briefed about the special seats reserved for Fata students in various medical, engineering colleges and universities. Scholarship programmes and political scholarship criteria for students belonging to Fata was also discussed.
Some 50% quota should be fixed for those students who completed secondary education in tribal areas, senators recommended.
Now a sub-committee headed by Senator Haji Ghulam Ali will look after these issues. The committee was told that the development programmes are being conducted in six agencies of Fata which include Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Orakzai, Kurram and South Waziristan.
Discussing the ratio of the development programmes, relief work and infrastructural support, the senators stressed upon equal distribution of resources based on the ratio of population.
Safron officials told the committee that the programmes are based according to the security conditions, availability of roads and schools in areas.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2014.