Tuesday, June 07, 2005

NFC allocations hit Balochistan badly

NFC allocations hit Balochistan badly

By Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD: The population-based old controversial formula of National Finance Commission (NFC) allocation has once again badly hit both the backward provinces — Balochistan and NWFP — who will jointly get only Rs 54 billion against Rs 229 billion by the Punjab and Sindh in 2005-06 budget.

In the new budget, an amount of Rs 284 billion would be given to the four provinces under the NFC award with the Punjab getting lion’s share of Rs 143 billion, followed by Sindh Rs 86 billion, Rs 34 billion by NWFP and Rs 20 billion by Balochistan.

This is the third national budget of present parliament that is being laid before the House without announcing the new NFC. The new NFC award was due in 2002 but till date it is being delayed as the provinces do not agree on the formula of resource distribution.

The major hurdle in the way of the new NFC award is the central government’s refusal to reduce its share from the divisible pool. Provinces, too, have certain basic differences on the distribution of resources. The Punjab is insisting on continuation of the old formula based on population, Sindh demands distribution on the basis of revenue generation, Balochistan seeks a new formula on the basis of backwardness and area, while NWFP demands consideration of backwardness and natural resources.

Despite several efforts during the last three years, the government has failed to develop a consensus among the provinces, which are not ready to show any sign of compromise on the vital issue of distribution of funds.

Balochistan was also widely ignored in the allocation of additional amount of Rs 6 billion to the provinces in 2004-05 as the province got only Rs 200 million. A meagre raise in the share of Balochistan in the NFC is likely to touch the raw nerve of Baloch nationalists, who are already raising a hue and cry over the issue of lack of resources.

NWFP and Balochistan suffered yet another loss on account of fresh raise given to the provinces against their last year’s allocations under the NFC award. In the new fiscal year, NWFP has been given a raise of Rs 5 billion. A province producing hydropower will get Rs 34 billion in 2005-06 against Rs 29 billion in 2004-05. Balochistan has got a minimum raise of Rs 3 billion in the new budget as it will receive Rs 20 billion against last year’s Rs 17 billion.

However, the Punjab once again will get a big raise of Rs 21 billion — Rs143 billion in 2005-06 against Rs 122 billion of 2004-05. Sindh, too, has got a reasonable raise of Rs 11 billion in the new budget under the NFC as the province will get Rs 86 billion in 2005-06 against Rs 75 billion last year.

The budget document also showed that the provinces got Rs 6 billion in addition to their actual allocation in 2004-05. A total of Rs 239 billion was envisaged to be given to the provinces under the NFC. But, revised figures of actual releases of the amounts in last year showed that a total of Rs 245 billion were actually paid to the four provinces.

Out of Rs 6 billion given to the provinces over and above their allocation under NFC last year, the Punjab got an additional amount of Rs 2 billion, Sindh Rs 3 billion, NWFP Rs 2 billion and Balochistan Rs 200 million.


We are proud for our brave and courageous Senator Sanaullah Baloch.

Whose budget is it anyway?

Sharp reaction to missing NFC award

By Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD: Ugly scenes were witnessed in the Senate on Monday when budget for 2005-06 was tabled in the House, as senators from Balochistan threw the budget documents on the floor of the house after tearing it into pieces and terming it a "Punjab budget."

Many verbal clashes between Baloch and Pakhtoon nationalist senators and treasury benches followed the tearing of the budget documents. The situation got so tense in the Upper House that, at one stage, all the opposition members walked out of the House chanting slogans against the government for its failure to announce the National Finance Commission (NFC) award, and fiscal bill was presented when the opposition benches were empty.

As Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Dr Sher Afgan rose to table the bill in the Upper House after being referred from the Lower House, the opposition walked out.

The senators from Balochistan also accused General Pervez Musharraf of deliberately protecting interests of Punjab, and claimed: "General is only returning favours to the mighty province for giving him votes during his presidential referendum."

However, they claimed, Balochistan and NWFP are being punished by General Musharraf for not giving him votes. However, Chairman Senate Mohammadmian Soomro exercised patience in the face of provocative speeches by the Baloch and Pakhtoon senators. Instead of taking some drastic steps as demanded by the treasury benches, he remained calm and averted any major showdown in the House.

The treasury benches and Dr Sher Afgan praised the chairman for showing democratic spirit.

Earlier, leader of opposition in the Senate Raza Rabbani delivered a hard-hitting speech and accused the government of violating the constitution. He questioned tabling of the budget in the House without formally announcing the new NFC award as required under the law. Secondly, he said, the president’s refusal to address the joint sitting of the parliament was also a violation of the constitution.

Senator Ishaq Dar also lashed out at the government for not announcing the NFC award, and pointed out "many serious constitutional violations" by the government. Pakhtoon Senator Raza Khan Raza, too, was very critical of the government, and alleged that Balochistan was being exploited by Punjab. He claimed that the "depressed nationalities" were being exploited by the Centre, and provinces were not being given their due rights. He lamented that the Balochistan government lacked funds for payment of salaries to employees, and the chief minister had to beg from the centre or borrow from the provinces. He also branded it a "Punjab budget."

Senator Sanaullah Baloch was also very harsh in his speech, as he not only tore the budget documents during his speech but also threw them on floor of the House that led to strong uproar from treasury benches. Even the Senate chairman remarked that act of Sanaullah amounted to "insult of Upper House."

However, Senator Baloch lashed out at Punjab, and alleged that it was bent upon "naked exploitation and aggression" against the smaller provinces. He alleged that Balochistan was being "plundered" by Punjab and "President Musharraf was only helping the bigger province to exploit resources of Balochistan."

Senator Kamil Ali protested against attitude of Sanaullah Baloch, and said he was dishonouring the House. Senator Nighat Agha also objected to Senator Baloch’s act of throwing the budget documents. The chairman remarked that Baloch had hurt feelings of the members of the House.

Senator Mohim Khan Baloch from the treasury benches also protested against non-announcement of the NFC award, and said it would badly hit the poverty-stricken Balochistan. At this stage, opposition walked out of the House.

Senator Pari Gul Agha condemned the act of Sanaullah Baloch, and said he had actually shown disrespect to the names of God written on the documents. Her views were also shared by other woman senators who too criticised Sanaullah Baloch for throwing the documents on floor of the House.


LG Ordinance amended

QUETTA: The Local Government Ordinance was amended after the approval by the competent authority, the Balochistan Local Government Board announced here on Monday. The amended ordinance came into force with immediate effect. According to the department, amendments were aimed at increasing the writ of the provincial government, increase supervision, powers to issue direction to Nazims and improve working relations between provincial government and DCO. The care-taker Nazims would be appointed by the chief secretary soon after the announcement of election schedule, the announcement said.


Balochistan Bar Council polls results announced

QUETTA: Ali Ahmed Kurd, Kamran Mumtaz, Malik Mumtaz Mehfooz and Muhammad Hashim Kakar were elected from four seats of group I of Baclochistan Bar Council here Sunday. The group 1 comprised Quetta, Chagai, Nushki, Pishin and Qilla Abdullah Divisions. According to results of the Bar council,Abdullah Khan Kakar won from group II comprising Zhob, Loralai, Killa Saifullah, Ziarat, Musa Khail and Barckhan. Muhammad Noor Miskanzai was declared elected in Group III comprising Kech, Panjgur, Gawadar and Lasbella while Sardar Ahmed Nawaz was elected from group IV comprising Kalat, Khuzdar, Mustung, Kharan and Awaran. Amanullah Kanrani, Senator was elected from Group V comprising Sibi, Nasirabad Division.


BUDGET ALLOCATIONS: Health budget up by 26.9%, Rs 4.13b allocated

ISLAMABAD: A sum of Rs 4.13 billion has been allocated to health for 2005-2006, which is up 26.9 percent compared to last year’s allocation. The government has allocated Rs 40 million for medical products, appliances and equipments compared to Rs 32 million last year. It also allocated Rs 3.36 billion to be spent on hospital services compared to Rs 2.65 billion last year. Similarly, the government will spend Rs 283 million on public health services in 2005-2006 compared to Rs 227 million last year. The government has also reduced budgetary allocations for research and development in health from Rs 3 million to Rs 2 million in the present budget. The government has allocated Rs 447 million for health administration compared to Rs 371 million last year. In the budget announced on Monday by Shaukat Aziz’s government, allocations for all health sector categories except research and development have been increased in the budget 2005-06 compared to the budget 2004-05. mohammad kamran

BUDGET REACTIONS: Increased defence budget will harm peace process: Lawyers

LAHORE: The increase in the defence spending of nuclear neighbours India and Pakistan are enough to deflate the balloon of friendship, said lawyers while expressing their disappointment on the budget speech on Monday. “On one hand, we say that the borders are being made secure with our foreign policy, but on the other, more money is being allocated to acquire weapons. This act belies our claim. The money would have been better spent solving people’s woes and making their lives easier,” they said. “The roots of the government have weakened immensely and in order to prevent a violent reaction from the public, it has played around with statistics to disguise the erosion of Pakistan’s economy.” The legal fraternity said that ten percent inflation because of the federal budget of 2005-06 was “bound to multiply the miseries of the downtrodden masses” and called the budget a packing of words and figures to cover up the government’s economic failure. “It (the budget) is a document to deceive the masses,” they said. “Event though there is no increase in the electricity tariff or petroleum prices, it will not remain so for a whole year. Mini budgets will follow this budget, and increase the sufferings of the people. The government is calling it a tax-free budget, but the promises made in the budget will create frustration, not relief for the masses. “Budgets are not annual allocations of funds in Pakistan, they are a necessary evil for June. The real changes and adjustments are implemented the following year. The government is bound to increase utility tariffs because it has made firm commitments to international donors to pay back their loans.” “In the face of Pakistan’s gigantic inflation rate, a fifteen percent increase in the salaries of government employees is an eyewash. staff report


India must know that this gas pipe line will have to cross All over Balochistan and then Sindh, Until the real problems of Baloch and Sindhi are not addressed in their satisfaction all Punjab and Muhajirs give security promises are nothing more then dreams, and ploy to trap India into another battle field this time not J&K but Balochistan and Sindh.

There for all Paki given security guarantees are irrelevant and unlawful; our hands are free to protect our National interests the same way as any other proud nation does.

Baloch unity.

Pakistan, India form joint group to help launch pipeline plan

By Our Reporter

ISLAMABAD, June 6: Islamabad and New Delhi on Monday formed a joint working group to get the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project “off the ground” early next year.

Indian Oil Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said at a press conference after a meeting with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz that the group would initiate interaction between officials and technical, financial and legal experts of the two countries to take the project to the implementation stage by early next year.

In reply to a question, he said the three sides would think over the formation of a trilateral steering committee.

There was no difference in the strategies of Pakistan, India and Iran regarding the pipeline, he said.

He said the India-Iran joint group had held six technical and three ministerial meetings over the past six months and the Pakistan-India group would also organize as many meetings in the next six months. He said the Pakistan-India group would start functioning next month.

Mr Aiyar said he had invited his Pakistani counterpart Amanullah Khan Jadoon to visit India by the end of August and he would return here in October or November to take the dialogue process forward.

He said Pakistan had also invited Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh.

In reply to a question, he said Pakistan had not taken up the matter of including China in the project but there were no technical hurdles in this regard. He said any country could become part of any project in the process of contacts of South Asia with West, East and Central Asia in the hydrocarbon sector.

He said the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline could be expanded to include India and Uzbekistan.

He said he had requested Pakistan to invite him through the Asian Development Bank in the next meeting of the steering committee on the project in Turkmenistan.

He rejected an impression that the United States was pressing Pakistan and India to focus on the Turkmenistan pipeline instead of the one from Iran because of its deteriorated diplomatic relations with Tehran.

He said there was no pressure and both the countries would take a decision which was in their best interests and in accordance with their future energy requirements.

He said the available technical information showed that both the projects were feasible but there was need to know whether there were enough reserves in the Turkmenistan gas fields.

He said Pakistan had assured India of providing best security to the pipeline and New Delhi trusted Islamabad’s sincerity on the issue.

Mr Aiyar said there would be no hurdles in getting financial assistance for the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline. He said Pakistan and India were economically sound now and international donors would never hesitate in investing in projects from which they could get returns.

He said both the countries needed to meet their future energy demands to sustain their current growth rates.

Terming his meeting with Mr Aziz ‘historic’, Mr Aiyar said he shared the view of the prime minister that the project should be implemented according to the best international practices.

Jawed Naqvi adds from New Delhi: The official Indian account of Petroleum Minister Aiyar’s talks in Pakistan indicated that the various proposed sources of piped gas to India through Pakistan were additions rather than alternatives to the Iranian project.

An official Indian statement quoted Mr Aiyar as saying that India was keen that the pipeline project got off the ground by the end of the current year.

The two petroleum ministers are expected to exchange visits in the next six months to review the progress made by the joint working group.

The statement quoted Mr Aiyar as saying in Islamabad that the group would “intensify interaction between the two countries regarding the technical, commercial, legal and other related aspects with regard to the proposed gas pipeline project from Iran through Pakistan to India.” A joint communique on the talks is expected on Tuesday.


We know that the health care centers in Pakistan kill more people then any other battle fields, those who proposed this budget does not live in Pakistan, their children attend foreign schools and universities, they go abroad for their medical check ups so why should not they pass such hate full budgets.

If they care for the nation they should have done things rather differently, that is defence budget for education and health, the present education budget for defence then we would feel their love for country.

Pakistan spends 80 % of national budget on defence and on their secret agencies and mandling in the internal affairs of her neighbours

Baloch Unity.

Rs9.4 billion earmarked for health projects

By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, June 6: The government has earmarked Rs9.4 billion for the development of health sector in the budget for 2005-06, a 68 per cent increase over the allocation of Rs5.5 billion in the outgoing year. Of the budget for the sector under the Public Sector Development Programme, Rs8.4 billion will be met from domestic resources and Rs1 billion will be foreign assistance.

“Priority will be given to health programmes like prevention and control of blindness and hepatitis and women’s health at the lowest level,” said Minister of State for Finance Omar Ayub Khan in his budget speech.

The estimated cost of the 66 projects under the PSDP for the sector, including 27 new plans, is Rs57.2 billion, on which Rs8.9 billion has been spent and Rs4.8 billion carried forward.

The government has earmarked Rs4 billion for the National Programme for Family Planning and Primary Health Care. The estimated cost of the programme is Rs21.5 billion and Rs5.8 billion have been spent on it.

An amount of Rs1.1 billion has been earmarked for the Expanded Programme of Immunization. The cost of the project is Rs1.14 billion.

The allocation for the Enhanced HIV/Aids Control Programme is Rs253 million. The cost of the project is Rs2.8 billion, of which Rs220 million has been spent.

The total cost of the 27 new schemes is Rs13.243 billion and Rs1.9 billion has been earmarked for those in 2005-06.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has already announced that Rs2.5 billion will be spent on prevention and control of hepatitis, including Rs300 million during 2005-06.

The National Programme for Prevention and Control of Blindness will receive Rs310 million. The cost of the project is Rs2.77 billion.

Allocations for new projects under the PSDP include: Rs297 million for 400-bed women’s and chest diseases hospital in Rawalpindi with a total cost of Rs1.3 billion; Rs250 million for establishment of an accident, emergency and ancillary services complex at Civil Hospital, Karachi, with total cost of Rs1.43 billion; Rs100 million to provide MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and CT (computed tomography) scanner for Civil Hospital, Karachi, Chandka Medical College, Larkana, People’s Medical College, Nawabshah, and Liaquat University Hospital, Hyderabad/Jamshoro, with total cost of Rs564 million; Rs100 million for strengthening of Gambat Institute of Medical Sciences with total cost of Rs587.4 million; and Rs50 million each for construction of buildings for Gomal Medical College, Dera Ismail Khan, improvement and standardization of district headquarters hospital, Nowshera, and Institute of Cardiology, Peshawar.

An amount of Rs32 million would be spend under the PSDP 2005-06 for the purchase of an MRI machine for the National Institute if Child Health, Karachi, and Rs50 million each to buy the machines for the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Islamabad, and the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical College (JPMC), Karachi. An amount of Rs10 million has been earmarked for modernization of diagnostic and therapeutic services at the JPMC.


Presidency’s expenses increase by 179pc

By Arshad Sharif

ISLAMABAD, June 6: The financial allocations for the presidency increased by 179 per cent to Rs261.61 million in the budget for 2005-06 as compared to Rs93.5 million in 1999-2000. During the year 2005-06, the government allocated Rs261.61 million for “staff household and allowances of the President” as charged expenditure. In the 1999-2000 budget, Rs93.56 million was allocated under the same head.

The documents showed that presidency’s budget shot up by Rs15 million during 2004-05 from an estimated Rs212.14 million to revised estimates of Rs227.17 million. For the year 2005-06, Rs107 million was allocated for employee-related expenditure of the presidency as compared to Rs86 million during 2004-05.

PRIME MINISTER’S SECRETARIAT: In the budget 2005-06, Rs234 million was allocated for the prime minister’s secretariat, showing an increase of 44 per cent as compared to 1999-2000. In 1999-2000, Rs162 million was allocated for the prime minister’s office.

For the financial year 2004-05, Rs226.5 million was allocated for the prime minister’s secretariat. However, the revised estimates showed that the expenses of the PM’s secretariat increased by Rs40 million in 2004-05 to Rs266.1 million.

The budgetary allocations for the PM’s secretariat were decreased by 13.7 per cent in 2005-06 to Rs234 million from the revised estimates of Rs266 million in 2004-05.

NAB: For the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the government allocated Rs752 million in 2005-06. The budget allocation for NAB in 2005-06 showed an increase of 37 per cent as compared to the original allocation of Rs467 million. In 2004-05, the NAB’s budget was revised upwards to Rs691 million.

The major increase in NAB’s budget was for employee related expenses of Rs284 million and operating expenses of Rs425 million, besides other expenses. In the previous financial year (2004-05) the employee related expenses were estimated to be Rs172 million and later revised upwards to Rs215 million. Similarly, the operating expenses of NAB increased from estimated Rs279 million to Rs409 million in 2004-05.

NRB: The National Reconstruction Bureau had its budget revised upwards to Rs79.5 million in 2005-06 from the Rs74 million allocations in 2004-05.

PM INSPECTION COMMISSION: The budget for the Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission was decreased to Rs17 million in 2005-06 as compared to allocations of Rs25.8 million in 2004-05.


Recovered child jockey still in govt custody

By Tariq Saeed Birmani

DERA GHAZI KHAN, June 6: A child jockey recovered from Abu Dhabi, whose brother had died during a camel race there, is still in the government custody despite passage of six months. The parents of the recovered boy, Murtaza, have approached Mr Ansar Burni, a rights activist, to seek his help for the recovery of their son on Monday.

Murtaza’s brother Kaleem had died during a camel race in Abu Dhabi, whose body was brought back to Pakistan on October 13, 2004

Soon after, Murtaza was also brought back by the Pakistan government and Federal Minister Tariq Azeem claimed credit for his safe return appearing on state television, but even after passing of six months the boy could not be handed over to his parents in Dera Ghazi Khan.

Mr Burni assured the couple that the boy would be soon recovered from the government’s custody or he would move the court for the purpose.

Talking to Dawn Mr Burni claimed that his welfare trust had helped recover at least 250 Pakistani children from Abu Dhabi from the custody of Sheikhs, who used them in camel races as jockeys. Now these children were living at a rehabilitation centre of the ABWTI in Dubai and would start arriving here from June 16, he added.

He claimed that at least 6,000 children were being used as jockeys in Abu Dhabi, most of whom belonged to Pakistan and Bangladesh.



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