By Ijlal Ali Shah.
Ahead of Local Body Elections, back in 2015, Imran Khan stated categorically that the people of a given district, would decide about their funds and, much was boosted about the unprecedented system that had never been executed in any province. Provincial Finance Commission (PFC ), was placed under local government act, to make sure that the development schemes reach the less developed districts, equitably. The commission was said to be independent and beyond Chief Minister’s influence. It had to make sure that the PFC award should be decided on merit, keeping it in line with the cardinal indicators to prevent the sense of deprivation among the people of under-developed districts.
The recent allocation at districts level, clearly shows that the CM’s hometown, District Nowshera is holding sway over the development funds while the southern and northern districts have again been disowned. The analysis suggests that the PFC award has again falter prey to premier’s partisanship.
Out of total development budget of Rs 208 billion in KPK, Rs 5.47 billion have been reserved for CM’s hometown, Nowshera signifying a five-fold increase compared to its reserved amount, back in 2012-13 budget. If this allocation is juxtaposed with the less developed Southern districts of Bannu, Karak, Hangu, Kohat, Lakki Marwat, Tank, disparity among the common, seems evident. These districts, together get a total share of Rs 3.67 Billion, which manifests how, various indicators have been disregarded, in allocation. This move shows how much the government is eager to wipe out poverty and other discrepancies.
Imran Khan, in spite of his claims back in 2015, has been unable to curtail the CM’s influence on allocation of funds
According to a government survey in 2015, poverty in Nowshera has been reduced from 60-70% to 30-40% whereas the less developed districts of Tank, are still on the same lines for the last decade or so, with 70% people below the poverty line. In spite of this significant imbalance, people of Tank only get a share of Rs .06 billion which is not even close to half as what has been reserved for CM’s hometown. The discrepancies are not only restricted to southern districts, the northern district of hazara division, has long been, neglected.
According to 2017-18 census, only the districts of Abbottabad and Mansehra, together house a total of 2.4 million people, while getting a total of only Rs 1.97 billion development fund whereas the CM’s hometown population hardly makes to 1.5 million but gets a share of Rs 5.47 billion.
The statistics are not meant to ridicule people of a certain area but it has to do with inequality that prevails within the intentions of the government. How Imran Khan, in spite of his claims back in 2015, has been unable to curtail the CM’s influence on allocation of funds.
the population of Hazara Division is six times that of District Nowshera and the division gets an almost equal share, with Abbottabad only getting 1.28 billion, with a population of 1.4 million.
The important indicators, that were made part of PFC award like poverty, revenue, population and lack of infrastructure, have certainly been overlooked. This act, either signifies their ignorance of certain parameters or bias for certain areas. The former seems to be a very lenient label.
There is nothing that can justify this inequality. If the government had claimed that there has been a significant dearth of funds and much has been reserved for education, health, that could possibly have been more justifying and soothing but the given split, with neglection of merit and certain indicators, signs deceit and partiality.
Hazara division, is a gateway to CPEC alongside its delightful suburbs. Much of the revenue comes from tourism, and its given districts like Abbottabad, is constantly being ignored, with not only getting a meager share in PFC award but the city is consistently having no district Chairman for the last 2 years and considerable projects have been left unresolved. According to 1998 census, the population of Hazara Division is six times that of District Nowshera and the division gets an almost equal share, with Abbottabad only getting 1.28 billion, with a population of 1.4 million.
One could possibly argue that the representatives of Hazara division, have failed to get a due share for their people but when the discrepancies of other districts are enlightened. It proves that the government has no intentions to work for less developed areas rather than cementing their own constituencies. Similarly, 98pc of amount reserved for transport projects across KPK, has been restricted to Peshawar Metro Bus project. In the light of these given facts, how the government, aims to mainstream such areas that have been vulnerable to terrorist activities, for years and further, if FATA merger takes place, how would the government, be able to make sure that these people are treated equitably. Transparency, would be one of the biggest obstacles in restoring confidence. The answer, seems far far away.
The writer hails from Abbottabad. He is an MBBS student at Ayub Medical College. A columnist and a political media analyst. He is the member Youth Parliament Pakistan under PILDAT. He can be reached on fb.com /ShahIjlal.