Lack of quorum: KP PA session adjourned without supplementary budget approval

Khalid Kheshgi
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly budget session was adjourned on Monday without approval of the supplementary one for the last financial year 2022-23 due to a lack of interest on the part of lawmakers.

All the movers from the opposition benches withdrew their cut motions against demands for grants at the request of Provincial Finance Minister Aftab Alam Afridi and Speaker Babar Saleem Swati.

The finance minister had presented the supplementary budget for the last fiscal year 2022-23 with a total volume of Rs 306.520 billion, majority of the fund was spent or re-appropriated either by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government or the first caretaker government in the province before June 2023.

Under the assembly rules, only the movers of cut motions can speak or take the floor while discussing the budgetary figures but the speaker gave time to the treasury benches.The government member instead of speaking about budget figures and department performances, preferred to talk about their constituencies or pay tribute to the PTI founder Imran Khan, or the incumbent chief minister.

The opposition MPA Adnan Wazir pointed to a lack of quorum and the speaker had no option but to adjourn the assembly session till Tuesday afternoon.Earlier, opposition leader Dr Ibadullah said a big chunk of the amount reflected in the supplementary budget for 2022-23 had been spent and utilized by the then PTI government but treasury benches had blamed the interim setup for that.

“If the treasury benches members have an objection to the figures of supplementary budget, then they should not get it approved from the assembly,” he added.However, the finance minister argued that most of the funds were spent by what he called an “unconstitutional” caretaker government in the province and now the treasury benches have to pass it under compulsion.

He assured the House that both the treasury and opposition members would be consulted for the upcoming annual budget of the province.The parliamentary leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party Ahmad Karim Kundi said that under sub-section 3 of the Article 163 of the Constitution the federal government was bound to share the details of the income and expenditures with the province and the provincial government must present the report in the provincial assembly.

“Similarly, the annual report of the Provincial Finance Commission should be presented in the provincial assembly”, he added.Maulana Lutfur Rehman of Jamiat Ulema-e- Islam-Fazl said that economic stability was linked to political stability and alleged that the people’s mandate was once again stolen under February, what he said was “rigged and engineered elections”.

The JUIF MPA also asked the federal as well as provincial governments to take further steps in providing safety and facilities to Pakistani students in Kyrgyzstan.PTI MPA Zar Alam Khan said that the provincial government should announce a relief package and compensation to the flood and rains affected people and farmers in his constituency in Nowshera.

He said that the recent floods and rains had destroyed wheat and other crops over hundreds acres of land in his constituency PK-85 Nowshera and requested the provincial government to directly purchase the wheat from the affected farmers at government rates.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly also prayed for the departed souls of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, foreign minister and other public office-holders who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday evening.