Violation of Article 140 is unacceptable, Fawad Chaudhry

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said that the violation of Article-140 of the country’s constitution is unacceptable. The minister asked the provinces to take measures for the announcement of their Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) without delay. Will any action be taken in this regard?

Article 140

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday asked the provinces to take measures for the announcement of their Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) without delay. He urged the governments not to violate the Article 140

Taking to Twitter, he demanded that the provinces take steps to roll out PFC Award at once for equitable and fair distribution of funds for uplift schemes among districts on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan and the federal cabinet.

Fawad Chaudhry said violation of Article 140 of the country’s constitution is unacceptable and that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments have more responsibility towards implementation.

On July 1, Prime Minister Imran Khan, while chairing a cabinet meeting, had directed the provincial governments to announce Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) awards for fair distribution of funds among districts.

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At a post-cabinet meeting press conference, Information Minister Shibli Faraz said the prime minister ordered the provinces to make Provincial Financial Commissions functional.

PM Khan directs provinces to announce PFC, not to violate Article 140 

Recently, before Fawad Chaudhry’s statement, Prime Minister Imran Khan, during a cabinet meeting, directed the provincial governments to announce Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) awards to end any “disparity” in distribution of funds among districts. “The prime minister directed all provinces to immediately announce their Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) Awards to ensure equal distribution of funds provided by the centre,” Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry told media after the meeting.

In a post-cabinet meeting press conference, Information Minister Shibli Faraz said: “The prime minister ordered the provinces to make Provincial Financial Commissions functional.” The minister said when the meeting discussed the issue of “disparity” in distribution of funds among districts, particularly in Punjab, the prime minister said that when the centre released funds to a province under the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, it was the responsibility of the province to ensure equal distribution of funds at the grass root level.

Mr Faraz said it had been observed that most of the development funds had been spent in the constituency of the chief minister of the province. “We have seen exceptional utilization of funds in Lahore in the past,” he added

Fawad Chaudhry said the PFCs were constituted by former president General Pervez Musharraf’s regime for devolution of funds to the gross root level (from provinces to union council level). Hence, the article 140 must not be violated.

He said after Musharraf era, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz wrapped up the PFCs and they did not exit till to date.

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Mr Faraz said to check misuse of funds and excessive expenditure by public sector development organizations like Pakistan Public Works Department, the prime minister ordered the formation of a special committee headed by federal minister Khusro Bakhtiar which would prepare a report in 90 days and present its recommendations regarding effective utilization of development funds. In this connection, the cabinet approved the e-tendering system for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The prime minister, Mr Faraz said, directed the authorities concerned to transfer development funds, which had lapsed at the end of fiscal year 2019-20, to Karachi and the federal capital for development activities.

Analysts believe that the NFC award was not being duly managed which may cause a blow to the smaller provinces.

Maria Malik, an academic and researcher, commented on the way NFC award was being managed. Ms. Malik is the author of Balochistan Conundrum: The Real Perspective.

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While commenting on the economic conditions of the people of Balochistan and the 10th NFC Award she highlighted that: “Over 70% of the people in Balochistan live in multi-dimensional poverty and half of the province’s population lives below the poverty line with lack of access to basic health and educational facilities. The province accounts for Pakistan’s 43% of the total landmass and is home to only 6% of its total population. The infrastructural development is almost next to none, highly un-urbanized and the employment opportunities are usually very competitive as the people of the province have to compete against people from other provinces for these job listings.”

It is yet to be seen whether the provinces will follow what the premier and Fawad Chaudhry have repeatedly said and not violate the Article 140 .

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