PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Cabinet in a special meeting held here on Tuesday with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in the chair expressed the resolve to bring into use all the legal and constitutional means for getting provincial rights.
Besides raising voice at the Council of Common Interests (CCI), the Supreme Court of Pakistan will also be approached for this purpose. A special meeting of the Provincial Assembly will also be convened to take MPAs of all the political parties into confidence in this regard and if needed, a protest will be held at Islamabad. The meeting, besides the cabinet members was also attended by the Provincial Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary, Senior Member Board of Revenue and Administrative Secretaries of various government departments.
Addressing the Cabinet meeting, the Chief Minister said that the provincial government will use every possible option to get its due rights from the federation. He, however, directed all the departments to make best use of all the resources of the province to increase its revenue further directing them to implement the austerity policy of the provincial government in letter and spirit. He also directed the provincial departments to strictly implement the government’s decisions regarding ban on purchase of new vehicles and to avoid expenditures on unnecessary renovation of offices etc. He reiterated his resolve to continue the provision of subsidized wheat flour to the public and other public welfare initiatives despite financial constraints. Provincial Minister for Finance Taimur Salim Jhagra and Special Assistant to Chief Minister KP on Information & PRs Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif while briefing media persons about the decisions of the cabinet meeting, informed that the cabinet observed that Federal government was creating financial problems for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and thus shying away from its constitutional obligations with regard to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
They informed that the incumbent federal government had made no payment to the province on account of net hydel profit so far which is injustice with the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and sheer violation of the country’s constitution. They stated that the provincial government is not asking the federal government for alms rather demanding the constitutional rights of the province, and will exercise the options of taking the matter in CCI as well as utilize all other constitutional and legal means. The Finance Minister and SACM on Information further informed that the provincial government has been providing relief to the flood affectees despite financial constraints and KP is the 1st province of the country that initiated payment of compensation to the flood-stricken people. Similarly, the provincial government, on the direction of the Pakistan Tehreek Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, provided aid of Rs. 200.00 million to the flood affectees in Sindh and Baluchistan provinces.
They informed that the provincial government had allocated an amount of Rs. 14.00 billion for the rehabilitation and assistance of the flood affectees, whereas an amount of Rs. 30.00 billion out of the developmental budget had also been earmarked for the purpose, adding that an amount of Rs. 20.00 billion will also be allocated for flood affectees through single treasury account. They said that so far an amount of Rs. 1.00 billion had been collected in BoK; and 20% share of the same will be spent on the flood affectees of Baluchistan and Sindh.
Responding to a question regarding the support of opposition parties to the provincial government, Taimur Jaghra remarked the it had been the tradition of the politics of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that opposition parties extend full support to the government for the constitutional rights of the province for which ground has been leveled by taking the opposition parties on board. He made it clear that provision of funds for the merged districts was the responsibility of the federal government until a fresh NFC award, adding that all the federating units had made commitment to spare 3% of their NFC shares but so far none of them has fulfilled its commitment except the KP. Taimur Jaghra maintained that financial issues and flood related issue should not be used for political point scoring, adding that the provincial government is ready to sit and talk with the federal government on all such issues under the umbrella of the constitution, reiterating the resolve that provincial government will fight for the rights of the province.