PTI mentioned in its manifesto for Election 2013 that there will be no development fund for the parliamentarians.
Members of opposition parties in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly say that control of billions of rupees funds has been given to members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) over the past three years for projects in their constituencies ; a move that contradicts PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s promise that no development fund would be given to MPAs.
Earlier in 2015, while unveiling his 13-point plan for enhanced legislation and other development works in KP, Imran Khan has pledged that MPAs would not control development funds.
Taking things up a notch, Khan promised that the development funds would be utilized through proper channels by the local government. However, latest news reports suggest that the development funds are being given to MPAs; a claim verified by the opposition lawmakers in the KPK assembly.
Truth Tracker approached the treasury as well as opposition lawmakers to ask about realities on the ground.
When contacted, Arif Yousaf, a PTI MPA and advisor on law, said, “PTI announced the Local Government Act in 2013 and no MPAs have been issued development funds since then.”
He said that the PTI MPAs have requested Chief Minister KP Pervaiz Khattak to release funds for the ongoing projects, who assured them of his support but so far no funds have been released.
“In case of funds being issues, they will be spent only for ongoing projects,” Yousaf added.
Muhammad Ali Shah Bacha, an MPA from Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), says,”Billions of rupees have been released to PTI members. In addition to this, there are specific constituencies such as Nowshera (the constituency of Chief Minister Khattak) and Mardan where record development activities are underway,” he added.
When asked if these actions are a breach in the promise made by Khan himself, Bacha said: “I can only say that Khan is known for taking U turns and this is nothing new.”
Shaukat Yousafzai, another PTI stalwart and the focal person for Peshawar Uplift and Beautification Programme, said that former establishments would give funds to the MPAs directly, but now the new procedure requires an MPA to point out a specific project and then put forward an application to the chief minister for the release of funds.
“Now the development funds are given to the concerned department directly, and they are responsible for spending the money,” he added. He said that no promise has been broken and the accusations of the opposition parties are false.
Sayed Jaffar Shah, leader of Awami National Party (ANP), said that the PTI-led government has issued exorbitant funds to its members. “Now, the provincial exchequer is running out of money and totally empty,” he added.
In 2013 and 2014, Shah said that each opposition MPA received Rs. 2 billion annually as development funds while the PTI members received Rs. 15-20 billion each. He said that he can provide documentary evidence for his claim.
“PTI is focusing on sit-ins. The party is in a financial, administrative and political crisis, which explains why the funds for the fiscal year 2016-17 have not yet been released,” Shah added.
Sahibzada Sanaullah, another MPA from PPP, said that all PTI lawmakers are getting full-fledged funds.
He explained that there are three coalition parties in the KP government such as PTI, Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).
“In a nutshell, 8% of the development fund goes to JI, 10% to QWP, 33% to entire opposition while the rest of the funds are being given to PTI members, “he said. “The figures I claim are accurate,” he insisted.
The funds for the fiscal year 2016-17 have not been released so far, while the development funds for the year 2015-16 had been disbursed among all MPAs.
“Khan is not to be blamed if the funds for the fiscal year 2016-17 have not been released, as they are not being withheld on his orders. The province of KPK is facing an acute financial crisis,” he noted.
There were news reports in 2013 that Speaker of KP Assembly Asad Qaiser had ignored the party’s manifesto and got allocated five billion rupees fund for his district, Swabi for development projects. And the news was never contradicted.
In the light of the statements of the opposition parties’ members and independent viewpoint, Truth Tracker rules that the PTI has compromised the promise.