In a blow to the development in two districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, a court on Friday directed to stop the release of funds for two provincial constituencies.
Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) Justice Syed Afsar Shah heard two different petitions on the ‘uneven distribution of funds’ in PK-23 Mardan and PK-37 Kohat and issued orders to stay the release of developmental funds for the two provincial assembly constituencies.
Awami National Party (ANP) MPA Ahmed Bahadur from PK-23 Mardan-I had filed a petition in the court through his lawyer Ubaid Razzaq over the discrimination in funds. Meanwhile, a similar petition had been filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA Amjad Afridi from PK-37 Kohat-I through his lawyer Barrister Muddasir Amir.
Both petitioners told the court that they had been ignored by the provincial government in the distribution of funds. They further contended that the government had committed contempt of court since the PHC has previously directed the government to maintain equality in providing funds to all the provincial constituencies.
“PHC in its earlier order had directed that all K-P constituencies should be provided equal developmental funds,” said Barrister Amir. Amir argued that PK-37 had been provided with only Rs60 million in development funds when all the other constituencies were provided with Rs200 million. “Funds are only provided to favourites of the K-P chief minister,” alleged the lawmaker from the ruling PTI.
Meanwhile, Razzaq told the court that his client was being ignored by the provincial government in the share of development funds, claiming that the money had instead been diverted to the candidate who finished as the runner-up in the constituency during the 2013 general elections.
“Developmental funds [allotted] for PK-23 are far less than those provided to other constituencies,” Bahadur’s lawyer Razzaq told the court.
“Funds have also not been provided to an elected member of K-P assembly but to another person who was the runner-up in the polls,” Razzaq alleged.
He told the court an elected member of the provincial assembly had the right to oversee the utilisation of funds, not members of other political parties who were not given the mandate by the people. The court stayed issuing developmental funds for PK-23 and PK-37 until the next hearing of the case and directed the K-P Government to submit its reply in the case.