Text of the policy speech of Amir Haider Khan Hoti, Chief Minister of Pakhtunkhwa in Provincial assembly after taking vote of confidence on April 10th 2008.
Mr. Speaker, Esteemed members of the assembly.
It is indeed a great honor for me to address this august house at such a historic juncture. Before saying anything else I profoundly thank you for reposing confidence in me. I want to personally thank each and every honorable member of this house.
It is indeed a great honor for me to address this August House at such a historic juncture. However, before presenting to you the government’s 100 days program, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every honorable member of this house personally for reposing confidence in me. Indeed the remarkable unity in our ranks gives me immense strength as a leader of the house and as elected chief executive of the Province. I also recognize the responsibility your confidence in me puts on my shoulders.
It is a humbling experience by any standards.
With your support and continued solidarity of this honorable house and the people of our Province, my team in the cabinet and I will deliver on the issues of basic and vital significance. I want to share priorities of our government in the first hundred days and to highlight some of the long term objectives.
My dear friends,
Our coalition government has come to office in a period of great upheaval for the people of this region. It is very painful to see that while rest of the World is advancing into higher stages of all-round development our province and FATA have been in the fore front of a tragic armed conflict imposed on us from outside. The dark forces of death and destruction have played havoc with our beautiful land and innocent people.
I want the World to know that the land of Pakhtuns is not just about madness and fanaticism. It is the land of glorious Gandahara civilization. It is the land of illuminating Islamic Renaissance of central Asia. It is the land of Pir Rokhan and Baacha Khan. It is the land of Khushal Khan Khattak and Rehman Baba. In short it is the land of peace and brotherhood. The results of the recent election have proved it beyond any doubt that our people do not support a closed society.
They are not for isolation. They want to join the mainstream and develop alongside the rest of the World. They have voted for peace, democracy and federalism.
Dear friends, standing on the floor of this August house, I want to reassure the people of the country in general and this Province in particular that peace and security remains at the top of our agenda.
Peace and Security:
The problem of violence, extremism and militancy faced by the people of our Province and in FATA is the outcome of flawed political policies of the past. In essence the problem is political with security as an important dimension of this problem.
We are convinced that there is no military solution to the complex issues and challenges vis-à-vis peace and security intensified over the years due to flawed policies. We are therefore, essentially looking for political solutions for dealing with these issues and challenges we are all faced with. Our stance on politically negotiated settlement of the issues has received an overwhelming support by the people and we are committed to our promise to the people.
We are also happy to note that a popular consensus has emerged on a negotiated settlement to the problem of militancy, not only among the political parties, but nearly all the state institutions are also in agreement with us on this point. Further, we have received credible signals from the dissidents that they are too are interested in a peace dialogue. However, while our commitments are firm on finding a negotiated settlement taking along all key stake holders, we do not wish to raise false hopes and expectations. We are well aware that there are many rejectionists at local, regional and international levels with various agendas and positions who might jeopardize the process. We are however, determined to find an indigenous solution with the participations of all genuine stakeholders. We shall not allow anyone to hold the entire Pukhtun belt as hostage.
We shall follow the path of “Sulah” as directed by Allah in the Holy Quran and we shall follow the “LAR” of Pukhtunwali. May Allah grant us “Taufique” to stay on the right path, to determine the modalities of negotiations, to identify stakeholders and to conduct negotiations. Ameen!!
The Provincial government will announce a peace jirga of elders with representatives from a cross section of the society. In the next session of the Provincial Assembly we shall present a comprehensive peace plan for our Province and FATA. We shall actively seek the cooperation of the Federal Government on FATA as peace in our province is not possible without peace in FATA.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Ladies and Gentlemen, We note with concern the alarming rate of kidnapping for ransom, dacoities and burgalaries. Coupled with militancy, the rise in crime has created a crisis situation. The provincial government is determined to protect the life, property and livelihoods of every citizen. The government will take immediate steps to strengthen Police and Frontier Constabulary.
We plan to create a 7,500 strong Elite Force within the police force. It will under go a crash course and will be equipped with sophisticated and heavy weapons. We shall recall 34 Platoons of the FC that are currently deployed outside the Province.
We are working on modalities of a joint command of the FC and the Provincial Police so that FC can be mobilized on a short notice. We will increase the capacity of the FC and Police to an extent where they can replace the army in areas where it has recently been deployed to quell insurgency. The army will return to the garrisons and maintenance of law and order will be taken over by the Police and FC.
The Provincial government will leave no stone unturned to maintain the writ of the state and ensure law and order in the Province. We are determined to defend the integrity, sovereignty and solidarity of the country. In view of the supreme sacrifices rendered by our Police jawans and officers, the provincial government has decided to immediately appoint a committee to review their pay scales
We shall introduce a comprehensive health and life insurance scheme for all members of the force for which they would not have to pay any premium.
The families of “shuhada” will be allotted plots and other compensation so that they can live with dignity.
Dear sisters and brothers, a peaceful climate is indeed a prerequisite for economic and social development. Our province is rich in terms of human and natural resources yet is among the poorest areas of the country on a number of social and economic indicators. We are determined to change this situation.
ADP Cut of Rs 10 Billion:
Before making any reference to our vision on economic development I want to raise a very important problem. I shall urge all the members of this honorable house to join me in making this point.
The Federal Government has imposed a cut of 45% on the development budget of our province.
We would request them to reconsider.
The Federal Government should consider us at par with Balochistan where no such cut is imposed. Our Government has raised this issue with the Federal Government and we shall do our best to get the maximum amount for our ADP.
This is important
in the wake of the on going security situation in the Province. Our people have suffered because of the dilapidated infrastructure, breakdown in the service delivery and rising costs of living. They should be compensated for this loss. One of the way to achieve this is increased public sector spending. The Federal Government should give sympathetic consideration to our problems on the basis of the extra ordinary law and order situation that we are faced with. Our province has seen a lot of destruction in the last few years. Many of the government facilities; schools, bridges, health facilities, police posts, and government offices have either been damaged or destroyed because of the on going conflict in the region. Thirteen of the adjoining districts with FATA have been severely affected because of this conflict. We urge the Federal Government as well as our development partners to help us in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of these facilities.
We have already raised the case of our arrears on the royalty on Hydel generation with the federal government, on political level. We are quite optimistic about the results.
We intend to renegotiate the royalty on our Oil and Gas reserves to get a fair deal for the province and particularly for Kohat and Karak districts.
We would persuade the federal government to form a gas company called “Gurguri North Western” on the pattern of Sui Southern and Sui Northern. The company’s head quarters will be based in this province.
We would strive to get the income of excise and sales tax on tobacco for the province as we grow about 72% of tobacco grown in the country.
We shall create conducive climate for foreign investment and give full protection to it. In the first hundred days we shall hold an investment conference.
In the industrial sector, 23% of the total vegetable ghee production, 20% of the cement production and 30% of the cigarette production is from this province.
We shall build on our industrial base.
The proposal for creating a Rehabilitation and Opportunity Zone (ROZ) in FATA and parts of our province is a welcome development as it would usher in a new era of industrialization in the province.
We shall declare a package to revive the sick industries. It will create more jobs.
Apart from the development of infrastructure for it we also need to provide vocational and technical training to our youth on war footing and on massive scale.
The provincial government has decided to establish vocational training and registration centers in every district of the province. Young people interested in vocational training and skill development will register themselves in the afore-mentioned centers and also give their aptitude so that they can join practical life as useful citizens of the country.
We shall seek cooperation of for this purpose. We shall also involve the private sector in this massive exercise.
Thousands of our youth will not only be provided with vocational training but they will also get monthly stipend.
The Provincial government notes with grave concern that a large number of daily wage labourers traveling to the cities away from their homes to earn a square meal for their families because of poverty and inadequate low cost accommodation end up sleeping on green belts and footpaths.
The government will, with the help of philanthropists’, develop low cost “sehrais” in all major towns in every district for the daily wage earners providing basic amenities.
During our tenure we would make sure that every child of school going age gets an opportunity to go to school. The Government is committed to providing free and quality education to all up to higher secondary level.
We would appoint a committee of experts to prepare recommendations for providing education in mother tongue of the children at primary level.
We would revise curriculum and focus on teachers training in the interest of quality education.
We would also revise the salary and benefit package for teachers especially those working in difficult areas.
Health and life insurance will be provided to the teachers at no cost to them. Further, travel and accommodation support will be ensured particularly for women teachers working in difficult and far flung areas.
The government will also look into affordable housing schemes for government teachers.
We shall also take the organizers of Deeni Madaris on board for seeking their cooperation in imparting technical training to young people. Children studying in these Deeni Madaris are an important part of our society and we would do everything in our power to provide a bright future to them.
The Provincial government notes with grave concern the increase in the number of children ending up on the streets. The government will with the help of philanthropists’ set-up homes on the patterns of SOS villages for those children who are currently on the streets, after all they are our future generation.
The provincial government will keep health sector to be a high priority area.
While improving the existing infrastructure we will work for building new networks of medical facilities throughout the province.
We shall establish a burn center in Peshawar as presently patients have to travel outside the province to get treatment. Subsequently this facility would be extended to other districts.
Rescue 122 service will be introduced as a pilot project initially in some parts of the province. This service will be equipped with ambulances, wireless system and required medical staff for responding in emergency cases.
The Provincial Government will open new institutions for training nurses as presently the number of nurses working in the hospitals is far below the international standards. Private medical colleges will be asked to start nursing institutes.
Quantity and quality of paramedic staff will be raised for staffing all the hospitals and BHUs.
Fountain Houses (Mental Asylums) will be opened in all major centers of the province.
At the moment only 7 hospitals in the District headquarters have been upgraded to “A” category. The provincial government will upgrade all the DHQs to “A” category.
Local Government System:
Experience of the last few years has graphically exposed the short comings of the local government System, currently in place.
We will revisit the system and prepare proposals for reform. Serious weaknesses in present Local Government System are an important factor behind the deteriorating law and order situation. A committee headed by the minister for local government will prepare its report for reforming the system within sixty days.
Agriculture & Live Stock:
Agriculture accounts for 25% of the provincial GDP (Gross Domestic Product). 47% of the province’s labor force is employed in this sector. We will help our farmers in every possible way to develop this sector. The Province has some core strengths which need utilization.
For example almost 50% of the total maize production, 72% of total tobacco production and 16.1% of the total cattle in the country are contributed by this province. These are the core strengths of the province in agriculture; however the amount of investment in these sectors does not match its total share in the livelihoods and GDP of the province.
We shall review the terms and conditions for agricultu
ral loans making them more farmer friendly.
We shall declare a package for sugar cane growers whose crop was hit by severe frost in the last few months.
We shall vigorously implement the potential for development of live stock. About 2.1 million hectares of pasture land is available. Our government will announce incentives for investment in live stock projects.
We shall particularly use potential of Hazara division in live stock and poultry farms.
Clean Drinking Water:
We are living in the 21st century but millions of our people still face the shortage of drinking water.
It is particularly a severe problem in the southern districts of the province. We will come out with details of such projects in the first 100 days of our government.
The provincial government will supply filterization plants for clean drinking water to all districts of the province.
We will vigorously persue the implementation of Kurram-Tangi Dam, Gomal-Zam Dam and Chasma Left Bank Canal projects. The completion of these projects will bring 700,000 Acres of land under irrigational network. It will not only change the socio-political face of the southern districts but will also solve the problem of wheat shortage in the province.
We shall launch a comprehensive program for the brick lining of the all the canals in the province. It will save water and improve the irrigation system.
The province has its strengths in the power sector where more then half of the potential sites for hydroelectric generation are located in this province.
The provincial government will declare its power policy within first hundred days of its tenure.
Since power used to be a provincial subject before the formation of One Unit in 1955, there is no reason of federal control over the subject after the dissolution of One Unit. It is in the fitness of things that the portfolio of power should be transferred to the provinces.
7 projects can be developed in NWFP with a total capacity of 5,369 MW out of a country-wide total of 16 projects with a capacity of 15,633 MW
Urban Planning and Development:
There are 24 district headquarters and 61 tehsil headquarters which can be termed as urban areas. Add to that another 60-70 towns which can fit in the definition of an urban area. This means that more and more population in the province is shifting into these areas or they are being converted into urban population because of the growth and development.
This trend necessitates proper urban planning and management. One of the failures of the previous government was that they did not give much attention to Peshawar in particular and other major urban centers in general.
We have to invest in additional infrastructure in Peshawar to take off pressure from the existing ones, which is nearing collapse.
It is proposed that CDMDD may be reorganized on modern lines with the introduction of certain new ideas like traffic engineering wing and waste disposal units.
Similarly the housing authorities which, were established in all the major town of the province may be revitalized. Some of these housing authorities like KDA and Sheikh Maltoon township along with Hayatabad township are a roaring success. There is a need to replicate these success stories in other parts of the province to cater for increasing demands in this sector.
Our Government is committed to providing equal opportunities for women in education, employment and decision-making.
We shall build and protect girls’ schools.
We shall ensure that women are employed in higher bureaucracy against the set existing quotas.
We shall form a Provincial Commission on the Status of Women which will work closely with the National Commission on the Status of Women in reviewing discriminatory laws and practices, prepare recommendations for change and monitor multiple forms of violence against women.
Recognizing the fact that women in the Province lag behind on key human development indicators, therefore, our government will extend full support to the Ministry of Women’s Development for taking effective measures to bridge the gap.
Programmes, policies and plans of each Ministry will be reviewed to ensure that they address gender concerns adequately.
Special programmes for technical skills development and small and medium sized business will be initiated for women.
Adequate credit schemes will be designed to suit the needs of women entrepreneurs.
The government will also introduce special incentives for home-based women workers to encourage them.
Environmental degradation is the one serious problem that can not only catch up with the problem of militancy and violence, but has the potential of undermining our future as a community of people. The worst part of the problem is that there is very little awareness about the hazards that we are confronted with in this area.
Our first priority in this regard would be to launch a massive and consistent campaign for creating awareness in the masses about environmental issues.
During the first hundred days we shall formulate a comprehensive policy for protecting our natural habitat and sustainable development in the province. We shall involve all the stake holders and civil society in formation of the policy.
This province has a rich cultural heritage. But unfortunately our culture has borne the brunt of violence in recent years. The provincial government will use all its resources to revive our cultural heritage and put it on the path of development.
We shall open Nishtar Hall for healthy cultural activities. The government will maintain effective check over obscenity and vulgarity according to law.
We will organize a systematic interaction with artists to ascertain their problems and include their suggestions in resolving those problems.
We shall declare a special package for the rehabilitation of artist community who had suffered colossal dislocation due to the discriminatory policies of the past government.
The provincial government will proactively take measures for the promotion of Pashtu in terms of research and publications.
Our government will respect cultural diversity in the province and would provide opportunities for the development of Hindko, Kohar and all the other languages spoken in this province.
The provincial government will respect and protect independence of media.
Our government will provide every support to improve the working conditions and financial remuneration of the working journalists.
We shall follow a totally fair policy of distributing advertisements among the news papers and journals.
Jails will be transferred into reformatory institutions and redundant laws and rules will be amended to bring them in line with modern concepts.
Scale and variety of diet will be enhanced.
Lawyers, intellectual, civil society and people from all walks of life will be requested for suggestions for improvement of Criminal Justice System.
Borstal Institutes will be established at Bannu, Haripur and Peshawar to accommodate Juvenile offenders where they will be given education and training for their moral, me
ntal and psych
ological development to make them useful citizens of the country.
Small industries would be established in jails and prisoners employed in these industries will be given a prescribed share of the profits.
Under prison rules I hereby announce the award to 60 days remission for prisoners confined in all the jails of the province.
Strengthening of Monitoring Systems:
The monitoring role of the provincial departments is very weak although there are officers available at every level. A proper mechanism should immediately be devised and existing ones must be strengthened.
The secretaries of these departments may be made responsible to brief the cabinet on monthly basis about progress against certain indicators. like schools attendance, percentage of students that have cleared their exams, number of visits made by different officers, teacher’s absenteeism, etc.
It is pertinent to mention that such indicators as well as monitoring mechanism are already in place at least on paper. It is follow up of these mechanisms and their implementation which needs a lot of emphasis and is the real key to success.
This is broadly the vision of Provincial Government for coming months and years. We would welcome any suggestion from the members this honorable house and also from the public at large. We shall always depend on collective wisdom because the challenges that we are facing can not be met by one party, one alliance or one institution. It will require a joint effort by the entire nation. The people and the nation will always find this provincial government at their service.
“Wa Minallah e Taufique”