SHC puts CS others on notice

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday put chief secretary Sindh, additional chief secretary Planning & Development, principal secretary to Chief Minister Sindh, and other respondents on a notice in petition of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers seeking disbursement of funds for development schemes to be executed in their constituencies.

In the petition filed by PTI lawmakers Syed Hafeezuddin (PS-93), Arif ur Rehman Alvi (NA-250), Samar Ali Khan (PS-113), Dr Seema Yazdani Zia (PS-159), Khurram Sher Zaman (PS-112), and Lal Chand (NA-430 – Umerkot), the court was pleaded to direct official respondents to abide by a notification dated November 11, 2013 regarding disbursement of funds allocated for the schemes.

Petitioner’s counsel submitted in court that provincial government had announced annual development program – Priority Development Program (PDP) – for financial year 2013-14 with an allocation to the tune of Rs8600.00 million to be executed through the lawmakers in the province. “As per program, each MNA and MPA was allocated funds worth Rs40m for the approved development schemes”.

He said that additional chief secretary of Planning & Development department later issued a notification November 11, 2013, spelling out criteria for disbursement of funds allocated for the development program. In pursuance of this program, the provincial authorities wrote letters to all MNAs and MPAs from Sindh province, asking them to submit their proposals with regard to development schemes for their respective constituencies, he added.

Counsel said that all petitioners furnished their suggestions with regard to schemes which were subsequently accepted. “However unlike lawmakers belonging to ruling party, funds for execution of PDP had still not been disbursed to petitioners for initiation and completion of schemes.”

He said that in contravention of the notification, the respondents had even accorded approvals and disbursed the funds for schemes suggested by senators despite the fact that there was no mention for same in the notification.

He said that respondents had not abided by notification at the instances of the ruling party in order to malign petitioners in the eyes of their constituents. Such tactics were tantamount to pre-poll rigging as far as next elections are concerned, he added.

Citing chief secretary Sindh, additional chief secretary Planning & Development, principal secretary to Chief Minister Sindh, secretary Planning & Development and Chief Tameer-e- Pakistan Program as respondents, the petitioners requested the court to order authorities to release the funds for approved development schemes.

After initial hearing, two-judge bench headed by justice Irfan Saddat Khan issued notice to respondents and provincial law officer to file comments on petition by June 10 (Tuesday).

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