Key cabinet members, opposition leaders on foreign tour

Source: Published in Politics on Thursday, January 21, 2016

PESHAWAR: At a time when terrorists were carrying out carnage at the Bacha Khan University, Charsadda, on Wednesday, the chief minister, senior ministers, the provincial assembly’s speaker and members of the opposition parties were in the United Kingdom on nine days training tour.

Chief Minister Pervez Khattak is heading the parliamentary delegation, which will visit Scotland, too.

An official in the know said the chief minister and cabinet members had been officially invited, while Speaker Asad Qaisar and MPAs of the opposition parties were visiting the UK on the provincial assembly’s expenses.

On Saturday (Jan 16), Peshawar’s schoolchildren and their parents got panic due to a security alarm (January 16) and thus, causing the early closure of educational institutions.

A terrorist attack on Tuesday, the day the delegation left on the foreign tour, killed 10 people near Peshawar’s Karkhano Market.

The chief minister tweeted to have shortened his visit and announced homecoming when 22 people were killed on the campus of the Bacha Khan University, Charsadda.

CM allowed the visit despite govt’s ban on trips of its functionaries

Though the provincial government had placed a ban on all types of foreign trips of cabinet members and functionaries, the chief minister had relaxed the ban and allowed the visit.

An official said the provincial government had sanctioned Rs4.7 million for facilitating the trip although the European Union had arranged training programme for lawmakers.

“According to the schedule, the delegation will remain in the UK and Scotland for attending workshops about parliamentary affairs and meeting their counterparts,” said an official of the assembly secretariat.

Sources said the provincial assembly had released funds to bear expenditure of the visit of the assembly’s speaker and six opposition lawmakers without seeking the government’s approval.

When approached, special secretary of the assembly Nasrullah Khattak expressed ignorance about whether the assembly or provincial government financed the trip of the speaker and opposition members.

Secretary of the assembly Amanullah Khan has already gone on a four months leave after the speaker withdrew financial powers from him and delegated them to Nasrullah Khattak.

In the 14-member delegation are Speaker Asad Qaisar, senior minister Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao, senior minister Inayatullah Khan, health minister Shahram Khan Tarakai, education minister Mohammad Atif Khan, mines and minerals minister Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli and special assistant to the chief minister Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani.

Opposition leader and JUI-F parliamentary leader Maulana Lutfur Rehman, ANP MPA Syed Jafar Shah, PPP MPAs Mohammad Ali Shah and Nighat Orakzai, PML-N MPA Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha and special secretary of the assembly Attaullah Khan are also part of the delegation.

In a letter, the administration department said the provincial government had banned all foreign tours of its functionaries including the chief minister.

However, a summary was moved to approve the said visit and bear its expenditure.

The letter said the chief minister had approved the expenditure of the visit.

Sources said special assistant Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani was not part of the official delegation but even then, he went along lawmakers.

The delegation is scheduled to visit Austria, too.

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Written by Zulfiqar Ali

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