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ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on Frontier Regions was informed that a total of Rs129.7 billion has been allocated for the current fiscal year (2021-22) out of which Rs82 billion has been released for merged districts of FATA, while Rs97.6 billion was released in 2019-20 and Rs121.1 billion in 2020-21.

A meeting of the committee was held under the chairmanship of Senator Hidayatullah Khan at Parliament Lodges on Thursday. The committee reviewed in detail the growing problems in the merged districts of FATA in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the non-implementation of the promises made by the federal government to FATA in the 25th Constitutional Amendment.

The Finance Ministry officials informed the committee that a sub-committee has been formed on the current situation of allocating three percent share in NFC award for implementation of promises made with the FATA and financing of special development projects in the merged areas.

They said the representatives of the NFC were also included in the sub-committee.

The officials said the first NFC award was given in 2009 and no award had been given since then. They said the matter should be postponed till the report of the sub-committee. They said that “as soon as the report of the sub-committee on this matter comes, we will present it in the committee.”

They said the federal government was supporting the merged areas with its own funds and this process would continue till the next NFC award.

Committee Chairman Hidayatullah asked about the progress on recruitment of Khasadars in the police in the merged districts. On which, the special secretary Home Department KP informed the Committee that about 17,900 Khasadars had been recruited in the police out of 19,700 posts, while the remaining 1,744 posts would be filled soon.

He said that a taskforce had also been formed in that regard and it had resolved 895 cases. He said that at present, the total number of police in the merged areas was 16,218, including inspectors and DSPs.

The committee chairman said Khasadars who had been integrated into the police had not been given any government weapons and they were forced to keep illegal weapons from their homes. He said while raising question, “how will you clear these areas of weapons when you will not provide them with weapons and they will bring illegal weapons from their own homes?” He said “how many cards were issued to those who were recruited in the police. You should have provided them with service cards, which have not been provided to them yet,” he said.

The convener committee asked the authorities how many primary schools had been built in Bajaur in the last four years. The officials could not give a satisfactory answer to the question.

The committee chairman said there was only one teacher for 220 children in Bajaur, which was unfortunate.

The meeting of the Standing Committee reviewed the budget proposals of the ministry regarding PSDP for the financial year 2022-23.

The secretary Ministry of Frontier Regions told the committee that the ministry had no PSDP plan for 2022-23 at present. He said the Planning Commission was preparing PC-1 and soon, “we will share it with the committee.”

However, he said that out of the allocated budget, Rs1.57 billion had been spent from July to December, while the budget of about Rs1.4 billion remained till June. He said the budget allocated by the ministry for the financial year 2021-22 was Rs156 million. From July 2021 to December 2021, Rs64.7 million was spent while Rs91.2 million remained for six months, he said.

The meeting was attended by senators Haji Hidayatullah Khan, Shamim Afridi, Gardeep Singh, Dost Muhammad, Liaquat Khan Turki, Sabir Shah and Dinesh Kumar, and officials from Home Department KP, and other concerned agencies also attended the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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