Govt to spend Rs100b annually on development of tribal areas - GulfToday

Govt to spend Rs100b annually on development of tribal areas

Imran khan

Prime Minister Imran Khan announcement comes days after his maiden public address in the tribal areas. Reuters

Tariq Butt

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said his government plans to spend Rs100 billion (Dh1=Rs37) annually on the development of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

In a tweet, he announced the start of consultations on a comprehensive uplift plan for the recently merged tribal areas and added that a three-week consultative process had been initiated to formulate a 10-year development plan.

Imran’s announcement comes days after his maiden public address in the tribal areas. At a rally in Bajaur, which was formerly part of Fata, he ordered the restoration of mobile internet service in the area and announced several development plans.

These included jobs for 8,000 youths, a Rs2 billion grant for interest-free youth entrepreneurship loans, and installation of solar panels in 300 mosques and grid stations of Bajaur and Mohmand.

He said funds had already been released for construction of sports facilities, while efforts were underway for an industrial zone to promote small businesses and cottage industry.

“The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) government will introduce Sehat Insaf Card in all tribal areas. Every family here will have Rs720,000 per annum at their disposal for medical treatment.”

Authorities acted on the prime minister’s directives to restore mobile internet service in Bajaur district and cellular networks became available in the area.

According to a notification issued by Bajaur’s deputy commissioner, directives to resume 2G, 3G and 4G services were issued throughout the district.

The historic merger was completed on May 31, 2018, after the then president Mamnoon Hussain signed the 25th Constitutional Amendment Bill into law.

The bill secured a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly and Senate, while a similar one was also passed by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on May 27 with 92-7 votes.

Meanwhile, it is reported that more than 500 senior civil servants are being evicted from their official residences by the federal government.

As many as 514 government servants faced eviction when the government cancelled the allotment of their official residences warning them to vacate houses within 14 days.

Non-compliance of this notice will lead to vacation of these family houses by force in accordance with the provisions contained in Federal Land and Buildings (Recovery of Possession) Ordinance 1965, read the notice issued to civil servants living in Fatima Jinnah Hostel (78 officers), Federal Lodge-1 (93 officers), Federal Lodge-II (58 officers), Chumari Lodge (36 officers), 48 family suites (48 officers) and Gulshan Jinnah Complex Islamabad (201 officers).

A senior official said that the government is evicting hundreds of civil servants from their housing facilities at a time when more than 43,000 federal employees are already waiting for official accommodations in federal capital.

He said civil servants who are legally entitled to official accommodations of these lodges are facing serious pressure from the Estate Office/Police to conduct an operation to evict them.

Senior officer Tanvir Malik who was living in Gulshan Jinnah Complex Islamabad suffered a heart attack moments after he received eviction notice last week.

The Ministry of Housing and Works has around 17,501 official accommodations while 171,237 employees are working in the federal government departments and its autonomous organisations.

The federal capital is short of 120,000 residential units for the government employees, said the officials and the shortfall is attributed mainly to the ban on construction of new government housing units since 1995.

The affectees claimed that the government wanted to accommodate their blue-eyed officers in these lodges. “This is the very reason to accommodate their favourite officers we have knocked the court’s door for justice as we are legally entitled and believe that the court would suspend the notices,” one of them said.

However, Minister of State for Housing and Works Dr Shabir Qureshi was of the view that eviction notices were issued to civil servants in light of court orders as per policy as they were living beyond 9 months.