– Says Govt cognizant of external elements
By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said that the government was fully cognizant of the efforts being made by some external elements to create unrest in the merged areas of erstwhile FATA, and would defeat those conspiracies in cooperation with the local populace. He, however, added that in order to achieve that objective, people of the merged areas (erstwhile the Federally Administered Tribal Areas) should not only be fully kept informed about the efforts regarding development projects and resolution of their problems but be involved in the whole process by all means. The prime minister expressed these views while presiding over a meeting held here to review the matters relating to energy, higher education, health and development projects in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, especially the pace of development projects in the merged areas. The meeting, which was attended by Minister for Energy Umar Ayub Khan, Chief Minister KPK Mehmood Khan, Special Assistant to PM Nadeem Babar, KPK Minister for Finance TaimurSaleem Khan Jhagra, Federal Secretaries Finance and Planning, Chief Secretary KPK, Chairman Higher Education Commission Tariq Binori and other senior officers, reviewed implementation of the development projects in the merged areas and the progress made so far. The prime minister described the people of merged areas as “much aware” and said the development and progress of merged areas and bringing them at par with other areas of the country was the government’s foremost priority. The prime minister was told that in order to ensure uninterrupted progress on the development projects in merged areas, the provision of required funds from the ministry of finance had been ensured. It was told during the meeting that the federal government was committed to immediate provision of funds for further speeding up the implementation of development projects in the merged areas. Regarding the efforts for uninterrupted supply of electricity to the merged areas, the prime minister was apprised that the ministry of energy had focused on strengthening of weak transmission infrastructure in the merged areas. The meeting was also briefed in detail about the financial requirements of the universities in KPK province. Chairman HEC Tariq Binori briefed the prime minister about the financial matters and requirements of the universities as well as the HEC strategy regarding the efforts to deal with such matters. The meeting decided to hold an exclusive meeting on the subject in the next few days so that the proposed HEC strategy could be finalized. The prime minister said that as investment in education especially in higher education was the foremost priority of government, all possible efforts would be made to fulfill the just requirements of the universities. He directed the Secretary Planning Commission to fulfill Rs 5 billion requirements of the KPK’s big hospitals for the provision of uninterrupted and quality healthcare facilities in the province. Reviewing the progress of projects under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSPD), the prime minister endorsed the provincial government’s proposal of completing 16 important development projects on priority basis and issued directions to the Ministries of Finance and Planning in that respect. Suggestions were also presented to the prime minister regarding the utilization of funds, received as royalty in Karak, Hangu and Kohat, for public welfare projects. Talking about solid waste management in KPK cities, the prime minister said that as there was a need to have a policy for the whole country, the process for the formulation of a National Solid Waste Management Policy in consultation with the provinces should be initiated so that not only the cleanliness system of cities was ensured but the solid waste could be utilized for energy generation. Regarding the payment of dues of Malakand-3 Hydropower Project and Pehur Hydropower Project as well as the matters relating to concession on income tax on Machai Hydropower Project and PEDO (Pakhtoonkhwa Energy Development Organization) projects, the prime minister directed the ministry of energy to address the issues in coordination with the provincial government.