During his campaign for May 11 elections, Nasir Khan Afridi, then an independent candidate for NA-46 constituency of Tehsil Bara in Khyber agency, promised to provide laptop computers to all students in his constituency if he was elected as Member of the National Assembly. Afridi has since been elected to the National Assembly.
Talking to Truth Tracker in June, Nasir Khan Afridi said that he was still standing by his promise to provide a laptop computer to each and every student from Bara Khyber Agency who was enrolled in any college or university of the country. “We will also consider Matriculation students, obtaining top ten positions during their annual exam in 2012-2013, throughout Khyber Agency,” he vowed. However, he excluded school students from the laptops scheme, saying “they (school students) are not mature enough to use laptops.”
Afridi said he would collect financial resources from government as well as private donors for the purchase laptops so that his promise could be fulfilled within six months. “This project is directed at the youth and will continue through five years term as MNA,” Nasir stressed.
The laptop scheme was first introduced by Punjab government followed by provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa before the recent election, as a way to attract young voters who were enamoured by the PTI’s slogan of change. Nasir Khan also followed the same trend and distributed 52 laptops among college and university students from his constituency of NA-46 during a function organized by Khyber Students Union in Nishter Hall Peshawar on February 17, 2013. This was the launching activity of his election campaign.
Truth Tracker researched and found that on average a bulk rate for laptops would be about 35000 Rs each.
The office of local administration in Bara estimated the number of students at 1,600. However, Khyber Students Union, a representative body of Bara students at collage and university level, says the figure is 1,400.
We calculate that 1,500 laptops will cost Nasir Khan Rs 52.5 million.
Speaking to Truth Tracker, Khyal Math Shah, a former Agency councillor from Khyber Agency said that Nasir Khan was a generous and wealthy person and could afford from his own financial means to provide laptop to each college and university student from his constituency within six months. However he suspected that Nasir would not follow merit in distribution of laptops as he would only give them to members of Khyber Students Union (KSU), a body which supported him in the election. The Afridi Students Union (a splinter group of KSU) would not benefit from the scheme as they opposed Nasir Khan in the election, Shah added.
Nasir Khan took his oath as MNA on June 12 and the six-month line falls in mid-December. Fulfilment of this promise is yet to start as he has asked his team from Khyber Union, a social and political organization, to form different committees for proposing and overseeing development plans including laptops.
Truth Trackers proposes to re-examine this promise after three months (September) to see the progress made in this respect.