KP opposition complains of poor allocations for Waziristan education projects

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly was informed on Tuesday that the provincial government had allocated only Rs100 million for establishing a university in North Waziristan tribal district against its actual cost of Rs4 billion.

Similarly, the assembly was told that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had allocated only Rs50 million for construction of the Education City in the adjacent South Waziristan tribal district while total cost of the project was over Rs2 billion.

During question hour, member of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party Nighat Yasmin Orakzai complained that tribal districts didn’t have higher education institutions.

Reading out the written reply, she said the estimated cost of the university proposed for North Waziristan tribal district was Rs4 billion but the government had allocated just Rs100 million funds, which were insufficient.

During a visit to Miramshah last April, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had announced the establishment of a modern university and Danish School System in North Waziristan district.

Mr Orakzai also complained that the provincial government had allocated only Rs50 million for the proposed Education City in South Waziristan.

She urged the government to establish universities, colleges and other institutions in the erstwhile Fata to bring the region on par with settled areas of the country.

In response, higher education minister Kamran Khan Bangash said the provincial government would build Education City over 2,700 kanals of land in South Waziristan district and the project would comprise schools, colleges, and campuses of the country’s different universities. The Education City will be established in Barwand area at the estimated cost of Rs2.5 billion.

The minister informed the house that the establishment of a campus of the Khyber Medical College, Peshawar, had been proposed for Bakakhel area, which was a buffer zone between North Waziristan and Bannu districts.

He said the higher education department had surrendered its building in Parachinar area of Kurram tribal district for the establishment of a nursing college, while another medical education facility had been proposed for Orakzai district.

Mr Bangash said the number of reserved seats in medical colleges for the students of tribal districts had been increased from 167 to 334.

The house also admitted an adjournment motion regarding the murder of three minor girls in Peshawar and overall law and order situation in the provincial capital for detailed discussion. Three girls have been killed in Peshawar during the last couple of days.

Labour minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai told the house that the police had completed the profiling of 149 people in the murder of minor girl Mahnoor.

He said samples of 48 suspects had been sent to the laboratory in the case and that the police would soon arrest culprits.

The assembly passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Environmental Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2022, suggesting a ban on the use and manufacturing of plastics bags in the province.

The newly-inserted Section 7B of the law states, “On commencement of the KP Environmental Protection (Amendment) Act, 2021, there shall be complete ban on the manufacture, import, sale, purchase, storage, distribution, supply, transportation and usage of plastic bags, flat plastic bags, with or without handles or gussets and such other plastic products as the department may notify from time to time provided that the existing stock of banned plastic products shall be disposed of by the manufacturer, wholesale dealer and retailer within a period of six months after commencement of the law.”

It also said any licence or permit, issued to any person for the manufacture, sale, transportation, import etc under any law, for the time being in force, would cease to be effective and the holder of any such licence or permit shall not commence or carry on business of the banned plastic products.

Section 7B(4) read, “Whoever manufactures, imports, sells, purchases, stores, distributes, supplies, transports and uses banned plastic bags under this section shall be punishable with fine, which may extend to rupees five lac.”

It added that in case of the repetition of the violation of sub-section 4, the culpable person would be liable to imprisonment, which might extend to one month, in addition to the fine and would be triable by the Environmental Magistrate empowered under the law.