POK Again Has No Financial Powers 

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All Financial Control In The Hands Of Federal Government

Prime Minister POK Abdul Qayyum Niazi kept the whole matter secret; Ministry of Finance and Finance Minister Abdul Majid Khan not consulted 

Haris Qadir

The Prime Minister of Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir has once again handed over the financial powers vested in the government to the Federal Government of Pakistan. On the instructions of Prime Minister Abdul Qayyum Niazi, the Services and General Administration Department has removed the Additional Chief Secretary-General from the post of Central Board of Revenue (CBR) and appointed Chief Secretary Shakeel Qadir as the new Chairman. It may be recalled that the Additional Chief Secretary-General is an officer of Pakistan-Administered Jammu and Kashmir while the Chief Secretary is a Lent Officer posted in the region by the Federation of Pakistan. Thus, the CBR, a tax-collecting agency in Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir, has once again come under the control of the federal government.

Prime Minister Abdul Qayyum Niazi kept the whole matter secret and the Ministry of Finance and Finance Minister Abdul Majid Khan were not consulted on this important issue. According to inside sources, the Prime Minister had given special instructions to the Secretariat not to take the Finance Ministry on board in this matter. Finance Ministry sources have also confirmed that they have been kept unaware of the whole process.

The Services and General Administration Department has issued a notification according to which the charge of Chairman CBR has been withdrawn from Additional Chief Secretary General Dr Asif Shah and handed over to Chief Secretary Shakeel Qadir Khan.

Finance Ministry sources have confirmed that they have been kept unaware of the whole process.

Thus, by disabling the Kashmir Council in the previous government, the Prime Minister himself has taken the financial benefits of the transfer of financial and administrative powers from the Government of Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir. He handed these over to the Federal Government. Financially, the government of Pakistan-administered Kashmir has once again come under the mercy of the Lent officers. Following these steps of the previous government, the Finance Ministry had revealed that the annual taxes collected through the Kashmir Council were around Rs 12 billion. The financial powers were transferred from the Kashmir Council to the government through the CBR at Rs 30 billion.

Earlier, the Kashmir Council used to collect all kinds of taxes from Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir. The agency, based in Pakistan capital Islamabad, is run by the Federal Ministry of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan and is chaired by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Nationalist parties, including mainstream political parties, have been demanding the abolition of the Kashmir Council and the transfer of financial and administrative powers to the local government. The previous government had acquired financial powers by deactivating the Kashmir Council, but administrative powers were delegated directly to the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

The Pakistan-Administered PTI government in Pakistan-Administered Jammu and Kashmir is busy forming committees around the announcement of a Rs 500 billion development package by the federation. On the other hand, the financial powers have been delegated to the central government. The annual budget of the region is Rs 141 billion. In such a scenario, the announcement of a development package of Rs 500 billion is nothing but manipulation and forgery considering the economic and political situation of Pakistan. The PML-N, which has a reputation for making money by building development projects, has managed to increase the development budget in the region by 100 percent in the previous government but has not been able to build any major projects.  The bureaucracy was able to better plan for the expenditure of the increased development funds.

ATTRACTIVE PACKAGING, NO WORK AT GROUND LEVEL

A sweeper cleans a deserted bus station after the provincial government suspended public transport during a “smart” lockdown, in Peshawar on April 3, 2021 as Covid-19 coronavirus cases continue to increase in Pakistan.  (Photo by Abdul MAJEED / AFP) (Photo by ABDUL MAJEED/AFP via Getty Images)

The PTI government has slashed all kinds of development budgets in Pakistan. The government did not spend the loans obtained from the imperialist institutions on big development projects. The economy has suffered due to spending on loans and financial and administrative expenses. Development has been negatively impacted. If we look at all the announcements and claims of the government, from the package announced for the victims of corona virus in the past to the development package announced for the city of Karachi, we find only a spate of announcements and claims. No work has been done at ground level.

The previous government of Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir had also accused the federal government of cutting the budget for the current financial year.  Thus, given the strategy of the federal government of Pakistan, this development package is likely to be limited to mere announcements.  However, under the guise of this, the financial powers of the local government have also been handed over by the federal government to its sent Lent officer.

GOVT EYEWASH – ANNOUNCEMENT OF DEVELOPMENT PACKAGE OF RS 500 BILLION

The annual budget of Pakistan-Administered Kashmir is Rs 141 billion. In such a scenario, the announcement of a development package of Rs 500 billion is nothing but manipulation and forgery considering the economic and political situation of Pakistan

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