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SC seeks details of funds received by Balochistan govt under NFC Award

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought year-wise detail of funds received by the Balochistan government under the NFC Award during last five years till Thursday.

The three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Gulzar Ahmed resumed hearing of Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal’s petition regarding misusing of the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) in Balochistan.

The apex court also sought a list of persons against whom criminal and civil proceedings had been initiated on the charges of corruption.

Iftikhar Gillani, counsel for the petitioner, informed the court that the development schemes were initiated on whims of individuals.

Justice Gulzar Ahmed remarked that the provincial government seemed to have not followed the due procedure in awarding contracts of development schemes.

Justice Azmat Saeed noted that the report submitted by the Chief Secretary Balochistan in that regard showed criminal negligence.

Counsel for the Balochistan government Khawaja Haris told the court that criminal action would be stared against the officials involved in the corruption in the light of report.

The Chief Justice questioned that how the parliamentarians, whose duty was to frame laws, were given development funds.

Khawaja Haris observed that someone had to divulge details about development scheme.

Justice Gulzar Ahmed remarked that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) knew well about those who pleaded to prove themselves innocent.

All know that what has happened to Rs 250 million released for a development scheme, he added.

The Chief Justice said that the Chief Secretary should contact the NAB for probing the misappropriation of development funds.

The petitioner’s counsel alleged that in most cases the funds were used by parliamentarians instead of relevant departments.

He said that billion of rupees had been misappropriated and requested the court to adjudge the matter before upcoming general elections.

Justice Gulzar remarked that the parliamentarians received discretionary funds, licence quotas and other benefits.

The Chief Justice said that the funds should be allocated under rules of business and their utilization should be transparent.

Khawaja Haris told the bench that schemes were identified by the parliamentarians and then the funds were allocated for them.

The Chief Justice remarked that only blue-eyed persons enjoyed perks and privileges, while the common man was deprived of his rights.

He directed the Balochistan government to provide details about the funds received by it under the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award and their utilization.

He said that Balochistan was rich in resources and it should have been the most developed province but its people were even deprived of safe drinking water and medicine.

The representative of Balochistan government informed the court that the PSDP funds were allocated district-wise and some part of them was spent on schemes identified by the parliamentarians.

The Chief Justice asked the Chief Secretary that how much cases of irregularities in development schemes were referred to the NAB for investigation.

He remarked that the provincial ministers got transferred development schemes to their constituencies.

Khawaja Haris informed the court that a committee was formed to investigate 1,452 development schemes, which termed the schemes transparent.

The Chief Justice observed that initially Rs 1.17 billion was allocated for a road, which could not be completed even after spending Rs 11.5 billion.

He noted that Balochistan received a lion’s share of funds under the NFC Award, but a common man could not receive their benefit.

Iftikhar Gillani informed the court that the Balochistan government received Rs 27.5 billion for development schemes, besides the budget.

The court also sought details of the development and non-development funds received by the province under the NFC Award.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/asianet/130411/sc-seeks-details-funds-received-balochistan-govt-under-nfc-award