Weekly Bang-e-sahar karachi Saturday, August 30, ——September 5, 2008
By Our Correspondent
GILGIT: Speaker Northern Areas Legislative Assembly Malik Mohammad Miskeen has expressed concern over delay in implementation of the reform package announced by the previous federal government and demanded that Islamabad should implement the Good Governance Package without any further delay.
Talking to this correspondent, he lamented that the federal minister for Kashmir affairs and Northern Area had backed out of his words given on the floor of the Northern Areas Legislative Assembly that from now onward the house would prepare annual budget of the region.
‘‘I assure you that lawmakers would prepare the budget of the next financial year. We want political empowerment in the region,’’ he quoted the minister as saying after taking oath as chairman of NALA.
The speaker said the Finance Department had released the non-development budget without getting approval of the house whereas Northern Areas Good Governance Order 1994 (NAGO) ensures participation and approval of lawmakers in the budget formation.
NAGO 1994’s Article 17-D says: ‘‘Annual budget allocated `shall’ be presented before the assembly in the form of statement’’.
The development budget of the current financial year has not yet been finalised and the quarters concerned are reluctant to take the lawmakers on board which is clear violation of the aforesaid clause of NAGO, he maintained.
He said resentment among the members of the legislative assembly was mounting and there was a likelihood of strong agitation by them if the matter was not resolved amicably.
The speaker said that another announcement made by the minister in July and never implemented related to the functioning of the Public Accounts Committee and the third is approval of Rules of Procedure and Business of NALA which still remains pending.
He said the bureaucracy in the Kashmir Affairs Division was sitting on the files and raising unnecessary and irrelevant queries which increased the frustration among the masses and their representatives.
He said two years had lapsed and the amendments to the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of NALA had not yet been approved.
‘‘Several times needless observations are raised and Rules of Procedure and Conduct are sent back on false promises that this time it would be approved.’’
The speaker asked the authorities concerned to take notice of the state of affairs in the region and remove genuine grievances of the elected representatives.
‘‘The chairman said we are bringing reforms in the hierarchy but instead of reforms the approved matters are kept in abeyance and things hanging fire for decades are not approved for reasons only known to them,’’ he added.
He said there was no reason to treat the people of the region in such a discriminatory way.