In order to bring revolutionary changes in lives of tribal folk and ensure socio-economic uplift of guardians of frontiers, the FATA ADP 2014-15, that carries a total outlay of Rs 19 billion with a foreign aid component of Rs 1.9 billion, mainly focuses on improving education, health, communications network and livelihood. This is in line with the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan’s determination to put the Federally Administered Tribal Areas on the track of speedy development. The development schemes for FATA have been pitched at 941 for 2014-15 with enhanced allocation for the ongoing schemes leading to expeditious completion. There are Rs 1.7 billion funds for the FATA Development Authority, which works in six sectors. The education, communication and health sectors have been given top priority in the ADP as they receive Rs 3.8 billion, Rs 3.6 billion and Rs 1.6 billion respectively. The value of the previous ADP for the tribal areas was Rs 18.5 billion, so the current one is 2.7 percent higher than it, shows an official document.
In addition, FATA will get Rs 4 billion under the prime minister’s special package program. The funds will be used in four different sectors to be identified in consultation with parliamentarian and experts.
The document showed all FATA portfolios had been enlarged to 40 percent with a focus on service delivery, while consolidation, standardization, strengthening and rehabilitation had been given top priority in planning opposed to expansion. It said the solarization of existing facilities in different sectors had been accorded high priority.
“The government is also installing solar panels in school labs, hospitals and offices of several departments to ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity.” Spokesman of the Directorate of Information FATA Fazal Ullah said.
An official said the Civil Secretariat FATA couldn’t approve a scheme, whose value exceeded Rs.200 million. He said the secretariat had to request the federal government for approval of mega projects.
Another official said on the directives of the governor, the planning and development department had excluded dozens of incomplete and unapproved schemes from the ADP 2014-15. They said the governor had directed the relevant authorities to clear arrears of contractors, while the un-utilized funds of abandoned projects would be diverted to other key projects.
The officials said the projects had been mainly conceived and approved by the officials concerned, to favor some influential people and that they had nothing to do with the community’s welfare.
As for the sector wise allocation, Rs. 3.8 billion have allocated for education, Rs.1.6 billion for health, Rs.1.2 billion for public health engineering, Rs3.6 billion for communication, Rs.485 million for housing, Rs.120 million for power, Rs.340 million for agriculture, Rs.419 million for livestock and dairy development, Rs.709 million for forest, Rs.18 million for fisheries, Rs.172 million for rural development, Rs.986 million for regional development, Rs.1.26 billion for irrigation, Rs.206 million for minerals, industries and technical education, Rs.32 million for social welfare and Rs.113 million have been year marked for sports, culture and youth affairs.
The ADP is distributed among seven tribal agencies and six Frontier Regions (FRs) on the basis of area, population and backwardness.
Currently, the share of South Waziristan Agency in the ADP is 10.39 percent followed by Khyber Agency with 8.71 percent and Bajaur Agency 8.30 percent, Kurram Agency 8.11 percent, North Waziristan Agency 8.07 percent, Mohmand Agency 5.87 percent, Orakzai Agency 3.95 percent, FR Peshawar 0.86 percent, FR Kohat 1.43 percent, FR Bannu 0.82 percent, FR Lakki Marwat 0.19 percent, FR Tank 2.03 percent and FR Dera Ismail Khan 1.27 percent.
Orakzai levies demand administration stop halting salaries
“It is shocking that whenever a major [security] incident happens in a particular area of the agency, the administration stops the salaries of our colleagues based there,” said Hawaldar Pir Gul.
Over 100 levies officials protested outside the office of the political agent in Orakzai Agency on Wednesday, demanding authorities drop the policy of halting their salaries under the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR). They also demanded that the process of giving them pay should be made easier.
“It is shocking that whenever a major [security] incident happens in a particular area of the agency, the administration stops the salaries of our colleagues based there,” said Hawaldar Pir Gul. He added fines are also imposed on tribesmen living in the area where the incident takes place.
Subedar Zandi Gul, hawaldar Zameer Gul, sepoy Jamadar Gul all said there was no presence of the political administration and officials paid no attention to difficulties faced by the levies.
Zameer said decisions like the one to hold their salaries under the FCR will not be tolerated any longer. He pointed out dozens of his colleagues lost their lives in the war against militants and were even given awards by the government. Gul added the paramilitary force was determined to protect its soil.
Soldiers faced tremendous complications in getting their salaries and sometimes have to queue up for two to three days. This is in addition to facing hostility from the clerical staff, said Zandi.
“We are not beggars and must be treated fairly like government servants working in other parts of the country,” he said.
The levies personnel said they were finding it difficult to repay loans due to the delayed salaries.
The demonstrators said the federal interior minister, K-P governor, Kohat division commissioner and Orakzai political agent should shun the policy of halting or deducting their salaries under the FCR. They said officials must place a mechanism which allows the soldiers to get their salaries without hassle or there will be more protests.
The administration has been asked to replace levies personnel who are 60 years or older with their younger relatives. However, the paramilitary officials complained authorities stood idle over the issue.
“Officials reaching retirement age should be replaced by their young relatives, but the administration is not willing to recruit fresh blood,” said Zandi.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the political administration said they are preparing a list of officials over 60. He added there was a provision in the FCR to halt officials’ salaries.