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KP Government to Withdraws Perks of Former C.M.s

C.M. Gandapur says federal government should subsidize gas, power of KP if it cannot clear all pending dues

by Staff Report

Screengrab of KP C.M. Ali Amin Gandapur’s press conference

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government on Friday announced it will withdraw all perks and privileges accorded to former chief ministers, including security and access to government vehicles.

“As a poor country, we can’t afford to provide perks and privileges to former C.M.s. All these facilities, including guards and government vehicles, are being taken back,” KP Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur told journalists after the first meeting of his cabinet.

Reiterating that improving the law and order situation was one of his government’s priorities, Gandapur said the provincial authorities would also secure the “maximum possible relief” against inflation for the general public. As part of this goal, he announced a Rs. 8.5 billion Ramzan relief package for “deserving” people.

“Under the Ramzan Package, 850,000 households listed in the Ehsaas-Benazir Income Support Program will be provided Rs. 10,000 cash each,” he said, adding 115,000 households unlisted in the program would also receive Rs. 10,000 each.

According to a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office, the government has already ordered the reactivation of all langar khanas (soup kitchens) established under the former government by the start of Ramzan. Additionally, it said, it would establish dastarkhawans (food points) at district and tehsil headquarters hospitals across the province for distribution of food during sehar and iftar in Ramzan.

Gandapur said another priority of his government was to promote employment opportunities in the province, adding for this purpose special attention would be given to skill-development in youth, including through interest-free loans for businesses. “As a first step of relief, our cabinet has decided to fully restore the Sehat Card Plus scheme from the first day of Ramzan,” he added.

Acknowledging his party’s political and ideological differences with the parties comprising the federal government, he said his provincial government still wanted a good working relationship with the center. “The federal government has to clear our [KP’s] Rs. 1,510 billion dues, but those payments haven’t been made despite several reminders,” he claimed. “I suggest that if the center can’t do that, it should subsidize power and gas for KP and deduct that subsidy from the province’s arrears,” he added.

He claimed the clearance of the pending dues would resolve the province’s financial problems. “We are not asking the center for charity. Instead, we are demanding our legitimate and constitutional rights,” he said, noting he was aware of the prevailing economic crisis and was not demanding a full payment of all dues in one go. “A viable mechanism about the issue can be devised with mutual understanding,” he said.

Gandapur also urged the public to raise its voice against corruption and bribery, calling for help to the government to eradicate the menace. He also asked them to monitor the quality of work on development projects. He also dismissed criticism over “nepotism” in his cabinet, claiming this was not a “sin” and anyone who didn’t deliver would be removed from office.

The chief minister vowed there would be no loadshedding for three hours during iftar and sehar hours in both urban and rural areas. “If this does not happen, people need to tell us. Power outages due to technical faults can happen, but other kinds of loadshedding won’t be acceptable,” he added.

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