The standing committee of the National Assembly on States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) has formed a sub-committee for finding out alleged irregularities in agricultural development funds of erstwhile tribal areas.
The committee meeting chaired by Sajid Ali was held at Parliament House on Wednesday.
The chairman committee said that the matter would be sent to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) if the sub-committee could not reach a decision.
The meeting decided to probe into the alleged corruption in releasing funds in the name of reclamation and leveling of land in merged districts and to recommend steps to ensure transparency and curb corrupt practices in awarding the contract of development schemes.
The Ministry of SAFRON and K-P Agriculture Department will facilitate and assist the sub-committee in finalising its report.
The committee was also briefed by the secretary of the K-P Agriculture Department on the funds released for reclamation and leveling of land in the Newly Merged Districts (NMDs) and the recruitments made during last five years in Agriculture Department of merged districts and future agriculture and livestock development programmes in merged districts in detail.
However, the committee did not agree with the information provided in the working papers by the Agriculture Department and decided to constitute a four-member Sub-Committee to visit the NMDs to check the reclamation and leveling of land there on the ground.
The secretary SAFRON Muhammad Aslam told the committee that K-P had promised additional 126 seats in medical colleges to students of newly merging districts (NMD). He insisted on the committee to inquire the provincial government of progress in this regard.
Further, Higher Education Commission (HEC) officials informed the committee that measures were underway for increasing quota for medical students from new merged tribal areas and Balochistan and added that there were funds available for scholarships of 500 students. Ali directed the ministry of SAFRON to take measures on its own for doubling quota of medical students from NMD.
The committee decided to summon health secretaries of all four provinces in the next meeting.
The committee member Ali Wazir expressed that they were being bothered by the ministry on the quota issues. The students were sent to erstwhile FATA secretariat where their issues were not resolved as well. The secretary ministry clarified that the FATA secretariat had been abolished while admission of students had been the domain of the K-P home department since July 1.
The meeting was reminded that according to the federal cabinet’s decision, the quota of tribal areas students in education and health institutions in other provinces should be doubled and retained for 10 years integration with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The members of the committee expressed their grave concern on non-compliance of cabinet decision regarding doubling of Tribal areas reserved seats in the medical and dental colleges throughout the country after laps of two and half years of cabinet decision made in its meeting held on March 2017, which is tantamount to injustice with the students of merged districts.
The committee was informed by the registrar of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) that at present council is incomplete. An Advisory Committee of the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination (NHSRC) on PMDC has been constituted to advise the ministry till the completion of the council. He further informed that the issue of doubling of reserved seats for the students of the merged district and the allocation of medical and dental colleges’ seats for the students of Balochistan and NMDs under the project for opportunities of higher education by the HEC would be discussed in the meeting of the advisory committee scheduled to be held in October and the SAFRON committee would be informed accordingly.
Thereafter the committee directed the secretary SAFRON to coordinate and hold a meeting with the secretaries of health departments of all the provinces to implement the decision of the federal cabinet regarding doubling reserved seats for students of NMDs at the earliest in order to save their future.