PM announces fund for terrorist-hit areas
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Tuesday announced the setting up of a revolving fund for terrorist-hit areas of Pakistan. The announcement came in response to a demand by Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao during the budget debate session of the National Assembly.
The prime minister did not indicate the seed money for the fund but said he had already issued directives in this regard. Speaking during the budget debate, PM Gilani said the Shaheed Fund had already been set up for the martyrs of the Pakistan Army and law enforcement agencies and the seed money for it came from the Prime Minister’s Fund. He said a separate fund had also been established in the information department for the aid of journalists. He assured the National Assembly that foreign assistance would be fully utilised for the reconstruction of schools damaged by terrorists.
Responding to the points raised by MQM members regarding violence in Karachi, the prime minister said he had discussed the issue with the governor and the chief minister of Sindh as well as the interior minister and had sought an immediate report from them. He said the findings of the Karachi incident in which Rangers killed an unarmed youth would be shared with the House. The prime minister said law and order was a provincial subject and the federal government couldn’t directly interfere in it.
Earlier, taking part in the budget debate, Sherpao called for formulating a national policy to deal with terrorism and extremism. He said all stakeholders including political parties and civil society should sit together and evolve a consensus on a national anti-terrorism policy. “We need to build institutions to steer the country out of the current crises,” he added.
He called for the implementation of the unanimous resolutions passed by Parliament. Sherpao questioned why the president had not yet signed the package of reforms for FATA. He said if the army had reservations about this package they should convince parliament that the situation was not conducive for its implementation. He also asked the government why the president and the prime minister never visited Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa. “No federal minister except those belonging to Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa have visited the province,” he said.
Expressing concern over rising public debt Zahid Hamid said the government would not be able to achieve its revenue collection target. He opposed the imposition of taxes through ordinances saying it was a violation of the Constitution.
Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho of the PPP said despite devolution, the federal government should lay emphasis on the education sector to bring about cohesion in society. She said efforts should be made to increase enrolment in primary and secondary schools. Rejecting the opposition’s criticism, she said no body had the prerogative to demean any institution and that instead of criticism the opposition should come up with constructive proposals to improve the lot of the common man.
MQM’s Salahuddin said the government claimed the budget was pro-people and would bring prosperity but keeping in view prevailing circumstances, the situation looked quite grim and the government would not be able to achieve its set targets.
Source: The News