Funds for Balochistan, Fata being spent on Punjab, revealed in meeting of Senate committee

06:07 PM | 19 Dec, 2016
Funds for Balochistan, Fata being spent on Punjab, revealed in meeting of Senate committee
ISLAMABAD - Allocated funds for the development of the Balochistan and Federal Administrated Tribal Areas (Fata) are being spent on parks, roads and metro trains in Punjab.

This was revealed in a meeting of Senate Sub-Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication. It has also been revealed that Rs 500 million, allocated for telecom sector of Balochistan and FATA, are being spent on construction of a stadium in Sialkot.

The sub-committee expressed disappointment that the survey for providing mobile phone service in Fata was not being carried out. The meeting of the committee was held at the Parliament house under the chairmanship of Senator Taj Muhammad Afridi.

Taj Muhammad said that the residents of these areas have sacrificed their lives in a war on terror, adding that steps should be taken for their welfare. He further added that Rs 55 billion has been allocated for telecom sector by the government, but bureaucracy and institutions were using delaying tactics in this regard.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects will bring development to the whole region, but telecom services were not available at its routes, he said.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Home secretary informed the committee that the department had not yet received NOC from Fata Secretariat for conducting a survey for providing telecom services.

Taj Muhammad called for the survey to be completed as soon as possible with the help of political agents of Bajaur, Mohmand and Khyber Agency.

During the meeting, Senator Muhammad Usman Kakar said that chief secretary of Balochistan might consider himself a viceroy as he did not give any importance to the meeting of standing committees. He also said that a report regarding implementation of survey in agencies must be presented before the committee within 15 days.

Universal Services Fund (USF) authorities informed the sub-committee that 75 percent of the work had been completed on the fiber optic network, while security issues had interrupted development in some areas. The committee members responded that parliamentarians would settle the issues with the cooperation of provincial administration.

Senator Usman Kakar lashed out at the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority saying that its efforts should be directed towards providing services to the public instead of the defence of the private service provider companies.

The convener appealed to the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to give special attention to ensuring the availability of 3G and 4G services in Fata and Balochistan.