Taimur Khan Jhagra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Health and Finance Minister, on Sunday took to Twitter to express how PDM parties have ignored Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and ex-FATA areas for seven decades following Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s allegations at a rally against the KP government’s budget cut off in Peshawar on November 22.
Jhagra hits back
“People of FATA were promised there would be reconstruction, and compensation. The houses and shops that were destroyed by terrorists and in operations, they would be reconstructed, the families would be given compensation. But its sad to see that we (KP government) cut off KPs and FATA’s budget cut off,” said Bilawal.
“They [government] are trying to take away our share under the NFC,” he added. “They have reduced at least Rs. 116 billion from your right. Imagine what could be done with that?”
My. Jhagra was quick to hit back on Twitter. “Mr. (Bilawal Bhutto Zardari), while talking about the tribal districts, perhaps they didn’t tell you that Govt of Sindh has not contributed a single rupee of the 3% NFC share provinces committed to the development of the ex-FATA,” he tweeted.
“Given your passion, perhaps you can sort this for us, perhaps they also didn’t tell you of what CM Mahmood Khan’s government has done for the tribal districts. Elections & a voice in the KP assembly, first time ever. Universal Health Insurance before the rest of Pakistan & before the rest of KP. Record Rs 40 bln spent on development” he continued.
In 2019, people of newly merged tribal districts (ex-FATA) cast their ballots to elect representatives in the provincial assembly for the first time since independence.
Mr. Jhagra referenced the Universal Health Insurance launched in the province of KP this year to make free healthcare accessible to the people of KP, ahead of all other provinces in Pakistan.
The Minister added: “Just this month, 6 hospitals in ex-FATA were started as Public Private Partnerships. Ex-FATA is a national responsibility KP is shoulders. If you cannot help, at least don’t fan the flames of the hurt PDM parties have caused by ignoring the region for the last seven decades.”
The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an 11 party opposition alliance conducted a rally in Peshawar on Sunday despite a ban on public gatherings in the province after a surge of covid 19 cases.
PDM was denied permission to by city administration but proceeded with it despite criticism from the government.
Prime Minister Imran Khan gave information on twitter about the surge in COVID cases stating “Pakistan’s second COVID 19 spike data is of concern: Increase in Covid patients on ventilators in last 15 days: Peshawar 200%, Multan 200%, Karachi 148%, Lahore 114%, Islamabad 65%. Multan & Isb Covid ventilators capacity utilisation 70%.”
He continued “PDM by continuing with jalsas is deliberately endangering lives & livelihoods because if cases continue to rise at the rate we are seeing, we will be compelled to go into complete lockdown & PDM will be responsible for consequences”
Jhagra also tweeted “502 cases today, 367 yesterday, 200 just five days ago. And a superspreader event organised by ANP, PPP, PML-N, JUI-F & others in the PDM in Peshawar. Because there is no second wave…” calling out the PDM for their rally.
The opposition on the other hand called out the government for politicizing COVID in order to silence the opposition.
Calls for NRO
Addressing the crowd at the rally PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that January would be the PTI government’s “last month in power”.
“We will never allow Imran Khan’s government to support terrorists whose hands are red with the blood of the innocent” he said referencing the government providing a National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) to terrorists.
An NRO grants amnesty to politicians, political workers and bureaucrats who were accused of corruption, embezzlement, money laundering and murder.
The premier said in a tweet that the opposition would never get a NRO no matter how many jalsas they hold. “I do not want to take measures like a lockdown that will start hurting our economy which at the moment is showing signs of a robust recovery. Unfortunately, the Opposition’s only goal is NRO at whatever cost to the lives of people & the country’s economy” he concluded.