Development cash to be diverted to security

Published: December 21, 2014
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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressing the London Conference on Afghanistan in London. PHOTO: PID

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressing the London Conference on Afghanistan in London. PHOTO: PID

ISLAMABAD: In a major rethink of national priorities following the Peshawar school tragedy, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has tasked a committee to work out modalities to divert a chunk of development funds to national security.

The committee, to be led by MNA Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, will submit its report in the first week of January. It includes Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, Chaudhry Saud Majeed from Punjab, MNA Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar from Khyber-Pakhtunkwa and a few Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders from Sindh and Balochistan.

According to well-placed sources, Nawaz Sharif, who presided over hours’ long top security meeting at the GHQ on Friday, has directed party leadership to take immediate steps by reviewing Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) and Punjab Annual Development Plan (ADP).

Sources said the premier has also asked Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to approach provincial governments and request them to follow the federal government’s policy and review their priorities in their ADPs by making security as the top priority. Dar has made commitment of provision of all the required funds for war on terror, they added.

Sources said Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Ishaq Dar and Hamza Shahbaz discussed the issue and decided to immediately review the PSDP and the ADPs and to submit to the PM their report – highlighting how much funds they can divert to security and how long they can slow down their development projects.

They said the PML-N leadership has tasked the committee to slow down the pace of work on the projects which were to take three years for their completion. These projects, which will not be released more funds, will now finish in five years.

The development targets, which the party set in the PSDP or in Punjab ADP and were to be met in 2016, might be achieved at the end of 2017 due to war against terrorism.

However, civil and military leadership have agreed not to decelerate the projects which are undertaken with support of China and other countries. These projects include Lahore-Karachi Motorway, Pakistan Economic Corridor as well as energy related projects for which China has made a commitment $46 billion, sources added.

It is pertinent to mention that the size of federal government’s PSDP is Rs525 billion for fiscal year 2014-2015. The total development budget is Rs1.31 trillion including federal PSDP of Rs525 billion and provincial ADP of Rs650 billion.

In the first quarter, the government released Rs53.5 billion from July to September against set target of Rs84.56 billion.

The government is supposed to release 20% of total allocation in the first three months of the fiscal year (July to September), which is estimated at Rs84.56 billion. However, the government disbursed only Rs53.5 billion in the aforesaid period.

The total outlay of Punjab ADP is Rs345 billion for fiscal year 2014-2015. It covers 2,561 development schemes at a cost of Rs290 billion and 19 development initiatives at a cost of Rs40 billion.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2014.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Wali
    Dec 21, 2014 - 2:26PM

    Good decision. IT is time that government gets it’s priorities right and act on the goodwill it has been shown. The PM has to lead from the front and as yet we are seeing little in nearly 1 week since the sorry incident of Peshawar.
    In fact in all this time the only leadership we are seeing is the COAS. He has clearly shown more of a leader’s mettle than the PM or any other political leader. Likewise IK made a grand gesture of ending dharna but has gone on leave since – clearly to keep a low profile and avoid any controversy and not have to come forward and talk of the terrorism narrative.

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  • Sheila
    Dec 21, 2014 - 2:32PM

    Not a good news…we defend our population to live a good life not to suffer in electricity shortages and to spend on defense more than on the well being of the defended. If we give our people a good life , they are less likely to fall in the hands of those who make them terrorists .Poverty and suffering also breed terrorism .

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  • Paki
    Dec 21, 2014 - 2:59PM

    “The committee, to be led by MNA Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, will submit its report in the first week of January” .. And how come it was decided that Hamza Shahbaz will led this?

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  • Kapooray
    Dec 21, 2014 - 4:24PM

    Keeping it ALL in the family!! A meeting between Nawaz, Shabaz, Dar, Hamza and Capt Safdar must have took place at home at breakfast of nihari!

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  • Baela Raza Jamil
    Dec 23, 2014 - 7:01AM

    It is sad that the PM refuses to be a true Statesman including the voices of many rather than only the Sharif Clan; more of the same will never produce results.

    I sent him a letter and to COAS to provide security to schools/education institutions 200,000 at least that are vulnerable and cannot afford security costs themselves 3 people round the clock. with good surveillance .. this will justify the armed forces and too many intelligence agencies. First they must also ensure that the armed forces are cleansed of terrorists and extremists. When will that happen. The culture of silence, suffering and torture must end in Pakistan- too much of blood has been flown through our spaces of learning, worship and living . how much more mindless sacrifice must be made for a perverse culture of oppression, all in the name of religion! NO MORE!

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