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ISLAMABAD: The senators, on Monday, expressed their annoyance over unfulfilled commitments made by the federal government with erstwhile FATA, as a Senate panel was informed that there has been a deficit of Rs314.5 billion in the amount to be released for various projects to the newly merged tribal districts (NMDs) of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions (Safron), chaired by Senator Hilalur Rehman, discussed the non-implementation of commitments made by the federal government during the 25th constitutional amendment for mainstreaming of merged districts of erstwhile FATA.

Director General Sustainable Development Unit Government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Sohail Khan apprised the committee that the federal government made a commitment of Rs1 trillion for the development of erstwhile FATA for 10 years with Rs100 billion per annum, but the federal government has only released Rs85.5 billion in the last four years and currently, there is a deficit of Rs314.5 billion. He added that if the federal government released all the promised funds then it will help only in the completion of the ongoing projects.

Two senators belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) namely, Sania Nishtar and Dost Mohammad Khan expressed their displeasure over the unfulfilled commitments and lack of implementation on the directions of the committee on various issues related to the merged tribal districts.

“Corruption has been institutionalised. The only thing in Pakistan, done honestly, is corruption … Next time if there will be no progress, I will change my committee,” Nishtar warned.

About the current status of rehabilitation of temporarily-displaced persons (TDPs) due to military operations and payment of compensation of damages in the merged districts, Deputy Secretary Finance Division Ali Akbar informed the committee that the federal government has released Rs112 billion against the promised Rs95 billion.

He said that the Finance Division recommended an audit of the funds allocated so far, but it has not been done in the last two years and due to non-compliance of recommendation, the Finance Division has stopped the allocation of fund. On this, the committee proposed a forensic audit of all funds allocated to erstwhile FATA so far.

The committee was also briefed about the geo-tagging of ongoing projects which was recommended by the committee in its previous meeting. The chairman appreciated the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government for this initiative and formed a sub-committee to expedite the progress on these projects.

While discussing the utilisation of funds allocated to the Irrigation Department of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for district Mohmand and Bajaur in the last three years, the chairman remarked that according to documents provided by the irrigation department in the last meeting, a total of Rs86 Crore have been utilised and 12 schemes have been completed but as of current details which is submitted by the same department shows that only six schemes have been completed so far

He also directed the irrigation department to submit all the details relating to projects supervised by the Irrigation Department in the next meeting.

The meeting was attended by Dost Mohammad Khan, Gurdeep Singh, Sania Nishtar, Shamim Afridi, Haji Hidayatullah Khan, Hidayatullah, Secretary SAFRON Pervaiz Ahmed Junejo, and officials of other concerned departments.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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