KP lawmakers say Centre denying funds to province

PESHAWAR: Both the treasury and opposition benches in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Monday accused the federal government of diverting funds from the province to Punjab and Sindh that resulted in the suspension of work on some of the province`s vital projects.They asked the Centre to restore the province its funds so that it could resume work on the schemes.The issue was raised in the assembly by MMA member Malik Qasim Khattak. He claimed that funds meant for development schemes in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had been shifted to Multan and Larkana districts.Speaking on a point of order, he said that work on multi-billion Lowari tunnel linking Chitral with down parts of the country, under construction expressway between Hassan Abdal and Mansehra, Peshawar northern bypass and Shanawa uranium mining project in Kara district had been stopped owing to shortage of funds.He said that National Highway Authority had stopped work on important highways in the province as funds had been shifted to other projects in Multan, the hometown of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, and Larkana.The lawmaker said that MPB-2 Shanawa uranium mining project in Karak had been closed down owing to non-availability of funds. The project, he said, was started in 2009-10 and it was Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) funded scheme.He informed the house that an amount of Rs50 million was released against allocated amount of Rs500 for financial year 2009-10. However, Planning Commission did not include the project in PSDP 2010-11 and work was pending because of shortage of funds.Supporting the mover PPP MPA Anwar Khan said that Lowari project was vital for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and national economy. He said that the under construction tunnel was considered corridor for Central Asian States and it would boost trade in the region.He asked federal government to provide funds for the project to complete the tunnel. He urged parliamentarians from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to raise the issue with the federal government.

Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour, replying to the point of order, said that ANP senators had already taken up the matter in the Senate Standing Committee. He hoped that work on those projects would be restarted soon.The opposition benches demanded that US national Raymond Davis, who shot dead two people in Lahore, should be tried in Pakistan.PML-Q parliamentary leader Qalandar Khan Lodhi through a point of order said that Punjab government was being pressurised to hand over Davis to the US government.“He (Davis) has killed two innocent people and does not enjoy diplomatic immunity,” claimed Mr Lodhi. He demanded fair trial of the accused.Mufti Kifayatullah of MMA said that it was matter of national prestige and Davis should be treated according to the law of land. He said that Punjab and federal governments should not bow to the American pressure.On this occasion Speaker Khushdil Khan told opposition members that the matter was sub judice. Mufti said that lawmakers at least could discuss the issue in the house.Mr Bilour said that government had issued categorical statement on the issue and case had been registered against the accused. He said that the court would decide the case. The house was adjourned till Tuesday morning – Dawn