PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan has said that the Federal Government owes Rs 189 billion to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province adding that since the regime change at the fedreal level, financial constraints are being created for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and federal transfers are being withheld to create financial instability in the province.
He warned the federal government of staging a sit-in in front of the National Assembly along with the opposition members from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. Addressing a press conference along with Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Khalid Khurshid Khan and the Finance Ministers of Azad Kashmir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab on Monday in K.P House Islamabad, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan said that the imported government, since its inception, is trying to marginalize Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and hurdles are being created on every step.
He stated that the incumbent federal government has placed a considerable cut on the funds of newly merged districts despite the fact that the merged districts need special investment to address their long-standing deprivations. He said that federal government has allocated only Rs 60 billion current grant for newly merged districts in 2022-23 against a minimum current budget requirement of Rs 89.5 billion for salary and non salary expenditures.
Similarly, 55 billion rupees have been allocated for development projects in the merged districts, out of which only 5.5 billion rupees have been released till date. The Chief Minister further said that in the federal budget for the financial year 2022-23, no funds have been allocated for the temporarily displaced persons while in the financial year 2021-22 Rs 17 billion were allocated out of which only Rs 5.1 billion were released.
Moreover, the present federal government has also stopped the health card funds of the merged districts, which is 4.5 billion rupees annually, and now the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is bearing the costs of the health card of the merged districts from its own kitty.
The Chief Minister said that the share of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa fixed in the National Finance Commission award is not being given, while 61 billion rupees are also due with the federal government on account of Net Hydel Profit. The chief minister said that the federal government has washed out the development projects of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from the Public Sector Development Program which were reflected in the tenure of PTI led Federal government. The Chief Minister went on saying that 10 billion rupees were promised for the rehabilitation of the flood affectees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but not even a penny has been released till date.
Mahmood Khan questioned that ‘ is Khyber Pakhtunkhwa not a part of Pakistan? “If it is, then give us our right”. And if they won’t, we will stage a sit-in outside the National Assembly. He added that’ I am not asking for any extra money, I am asking only for the due rights and share of the province.’ Mahmood Khan remarked that federal government is not even giving the provincial government a sovereign guarantee so that we can take loans from a third party.
He maintained that, several letters have already been written to the federal government to resolve the financial issues of the province but to no avail.
The chief minister said that the provincial government presented a budget of 1.3 trillion rupees and it includes all the projects that have direct impact on the quality of life of its citizens. He made it clear that if the federal government does not pay the arrears of the province, the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will march towards Islamabad for their due rights.