Allies feel left out of development funding

BAP, MQM accuse govt of not fulfilling its promises made during no-trust move

The federal government’s decision to build development projects on Sindh and Balochistan’s islands has been met with criti-cism from several corners. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Allies complained of lack of development funds during the National Assembly session on Monday, saying that the government was not fulfilling the promises made with them at the time of no-confidence motion against former prime minister Imran Khan.

Aslam Bhootani and Khalid Magsi, both from Balochistan, as well as Osama Qadri from Sindh, said that the government had no allocated funds for their constituencies. They added that the allies were now being ignored.

“We joined the coalition out of respect for [Prime Minister] Shehbaz Sharif and [former president] Asif Zardari. But now, no one listens to us,” Bhootani said. During the previous government’s tenure, “we were not respected but we got funds,” he added.

“Now that their work is done,” Bhootani continued, while referring to the success of the no-confidence motion, “the allies are forgotten”. He added that Zardari and Shahbaz “respect us but do not give us the development funds”.

Magsi, the parliamentary leader of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), also voiced similar complaints about the lack of development funds. “It doesn’t sound appropriate but we are forced to raise our complaints in the house,” he said.

Referring to their talks with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leadership, he said: “We had thought attitudes had changed but now we are back to square one.”

Complaining about not being given the chairmanship of the National Assembly standing committees, he said that the way the government distributed ministries, it seemed that it had come to power just to get the ministries.

Federal Minister Khawaja Asif said that the development of Gwadar was also the development of Bhootani’s constituency. He stressed that complaint about sense of deprivation in Gwadar and the rest of Balochistan must end.

Raising MQM’s complaints, Osama Qadri told the house that at the time of the no-confidence motion, it was stated that MQM’s support would be decisive. “For the sake of the national interest we put the weight of the 35-year struggle behind this government,” he said.

“We made an agreement with the PML-N, the Sindh government, Asif Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari,” the MQM lawmaker told the house, adding: “But to date it [agreement] has not been implemented.”

Referring to the agreement reached with the Sindh government, he said that if the government wanted, the required legislation could be enacted in Sindh within a week. “But the local bodies elections in Sindh have made it clear what their political priorities are.”

He said that no significant development plan was given in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). “There is no budget for the urban areas of Sindh in the PSDP,” he added. He urged the government to implement the agreement with MQM.

Courtesy : Express Tribune