While addressing an event of newspapers’ hawkers, Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak in 2016 had ordered construction of newspapers markets for hawkers in all districts of the province, which he ordered should be reflected in Annual Development Program of 2016-17 budget.
While addressing the event in KP’s district Nowshera back in April 2016, Khattak said that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government was striving to facilitate the poor masses of the province. He directed the departments concerned to fulfill the demand of establishment of newspapers markets in all district of the province and ordered to allocate funds for the projects in the budget of 2016-17. In 2016-17, a total of Rs30 million was allocated for the projects.
Later in the Annual Development (ADP) Program of 2017-18, the government has allocated Rs40 million for establishment newspaper markets in all KP districts while Rs60 million was allocated to be released in 2018-19.
Members on the opposition benches are critical of the promise made by the provincial government. While speaking to Truth Tracker, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN)’s provincial lawmaker Amna Sardar said PTI has made several promises, which haven’t been fulfilled.
“Making hollow promises with the public is government’s dishonesty with the province and also with the masses,” Sardar said, adding, she wondered how a promise made by chief minister hasn’t been fulfilled.
Furthermore, she said the incumbent government has also drafted many legislations in the province but there is lack of implementation.
“Practical work is needed rather than making legislations without implementing them in true spirit,” she lamented.
When asked of PTI popularity in the province, Ms. Sardar, hinting towards the recently held bye-elections in NA-4 in Peshawar, said that the public isn’t politically empowered to make their elected representatives accountable.
She said that the public forgets the promises made by the governments. When the promises aren’t tracked against the government performance then a sound judgment cannot be made about voting for them in the coming elections.
She said the ‘Tabdeeli’ [change] of PTI is just confined to the social media otherwise nothing has been done on ground except only a few developmental projects in the province.
Akhtar Ali, a newspaper vendor in Peshawar was optimistic two years ago when funds were allocated for the newspapers markets and was thinking it would help resolving issues of the hawkers.
When contacted, President KP Hawkers Association Abdul Haleem said that the government has released funds for only three districts included Peshawar, Abbottabad and Nowshera where the markets will be established on a priority basis.
However, he claimed that so far no progress has been made in this regard despite the fact the files and other relevant documents were prepared by the provincial information department.
Currently, he said the government has only given funds to Nowshera districts where the market was established in already existing building of Nowshera Press Club while the rest of the districts are ignored.
When asked what sort of issues the hawkers are facing without the proper markets, he said whenever there is rain, the hawkers experience several problems like collection and folding of the newspapers to save them from rain water.
“We even don’t have any place where the hawkers could sit for a while,” Haleem said, adding, the government should fulfill their promise and the markets should be established in all of the districts.
KP Information Minister Shah Farman told Truth Tracker that the market has been established in in Nowshera and he will check it with the departments concerned about the latest progress in establishment of the markets in the rest of the KP districts.
An official of the Information department on the condition of anonymity, as he wasn’t allowed to speak to the media, said that since the Nowshera is hometown of the chief minister so the market was established there on priority basis.
“Establishment of the markets in other districts is yet to be decided by the information department,” the official said adding, “The projects was included in the projects in Information department in ADP of 2017-18.”
Keeping in view the versions of government officials, stakeholders and independent observers, the Truth Tracker ruled that the promise of establishing newspapers markets for hawkers made by PTI wasn’t fulfilled.