PESHAWAR: Two years after the Local Government (LG) elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, elected representatives are still awaiting to receive their allocated funds, totaling a staggering Rs79 billion. This astonishing delay has left them powerless to address local issues and fulfill their promises to voters.
The funds were initially allocated in phases, with Rs17.4 billion earmarked for the fiscal year 2021-22, Rs41 billion for 2022-23, and over Rs20.66 billion for the first eight months of the current fiscal year. However, the provincial government has now withheld the funds, citing restrictions imposed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on the utilization of development funds.
This situation has caused widespread frustration among LG representatives, who feel that they have been denied the resources and authority necessary to carry out their duties effectively.
Sana Parvez, an elected representative from Bajaur, expressed her disappointment, stating that despite her aspirations to address local issues, she has been unable to make any progress due to the lack of funds.
Parvez highlighted several critical issues that remain unresolved, including the lack of proper graveyards for the Christian community in Bajaur. Currently, members of the community are forced to travel long distances to Peshawar or Nowshera for burials, causing significant hardship. She also emphasized the need for a specialized vocational center for Christian women to address their education and training needs.
Furthermore, Parvez pointed out that many women and men in Bajaur face difficulties obtaining essential documents like domiciles and identity cards. If she were empowered with the necessary resources and authority, she would actively work to resolve these issues.
The denial of funds and powers has prompted LG representatives across the province to announce a series of protests. On December 19th, they will hold a demonstration in Peshawar, marking the two-year anniversary of the elections. Additionally, a “Black Day” will be observed throughout KP, with protests taking place at city, tehsil, village, and neighborhood council meetings. A Charter of Demands outlining their grievances will also be presented to the provincial government.
The planned protests aim to draw attention to the plight of LG representatives in KP and demand the immediate release of allocated funds and the granting of necessary powers.