Setup of Starring Committee for uplift in erstwhile Fata: PHC directs to submit reply

Humayun Khan

PESHAWAR: The divisional bench of Peshawar High Court (PHC) comprising of Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim and Justice Shakeel Ahmad ordered to submit reply in petition regarding establishment of starring committee by federal government for usage of developmental funds in merged districts of erstwhile Fata, on Wednesday.

The writ petition was filed by former Members Provincial Assembly (MPAs) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ghazan Jamal, Shafiq Afridi, Anwar Zeb Khan, Ajmal Khan, Syed Iqbal Mian and Nasrullah Khan in which federal government, planning commission, finance division and starring committee were made respondents in the writ petition.

The writ stated that establishment of starring committee by planning commission 3rd January is unconstitutional and against the spirit of 25th constitutional amendment in which Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa become the subordinate of a bureaucrat.
The petition further added that Governor is a constitutional position while in the starring committee Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Governor become a subordinate to bureaucrat. Federal Government has curtailed constitutional rights of erstwhile Fata’s residents through a notification, the writ stated.
The establishment of starring committee has violated Constitution of Pakistan because development projects are the dominion of provincial government and also contradicting with provincial autonomy. Deputy Secretary will decide fate of developmental projects while the constitution of starring committee has also demoralized constitutional position of Governor, the petition argued.
The petition requested PHC to declare null and void the notification regarding establishment of starring committee for developmental projects in merged districts of erstwhile Fata.
The divisional has ordered respondents to submit reply in this regard after initial argument and adjourned further hearing till date to be fix.
It is worthy to mention that the former MPAs has also filed another writ regarding release of 3% share for erstwhile Fata in National Finance Commission which also pending before honorable Peshawar High Court.
Although, writ stated that in 2010 NFC award 3% shares were granted for erstwhile Fata while its stoppage has disturbed businesses of duty including salaries of employees.
The petition further argued that awarding of NFC in every five years is constitutional obligation and requested Pehsawar High Court to ordered competent for holding NFC meeting while pleaded for provision of funds as per populace ratio of erstwhile Fata district.