The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has accused the federal government of jeopardising the security of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by delaying handover of necessary equipment to the province.

In a hard-hitting statement issued on Monday, PTI Information Secretary Dr Shireen Mazari said just because of political differences, the PML-N-led federal government – despite having purchased mobile vehicle scanners for KP – had stopped their delivery to the provincial government.

When contacted, spokesperson for the prime minister Dr Musaddik Malik said he was unaware of Dr Mazari’s statement and could respond only after he knew its basis.

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“The Nawaz Sharif government has once again denied the smaller provinces their rights, including to security,” Dr Mazari said, adding that the KP government had been in the forefront of war against terrorism while suffering great human losses as well as in terms of investment and development.

She claimed that in April 2014, the PM approved the purchase of four scanners from China, specifically for KP. The project cost Rs1 billion and a KP official was included in the team that visited China to buy the scanners.

Shireen Mazari says centre delaying handover of vehicle scanners purchased for the province
“Two scanners arrived as a test pilot project later in the year but instead of being given to KP, one was given to the Sindh government and the other was deployed in Islamabad. The remaining two scanners arrived in Islamabad during the PTI sit-in (in Islamabad) but the prime minister stopped their delivery to the KP government and they were lying unused with the federal government, Dr Mazari said.

She termed it “a shameful act” for which the federal government must be held accountable for allegedly victimising the government and the people of the province.

Had the scanners been given to the KP government as planned, she argued, perhaps the Army Public School and Imambargah attacks could have been foiled.

“It is a criminal act of vindictive negligence by the federal government to keep the two scanners lying unused simply to annoy the PTI leadership.”

The PTI leader alleged that there was a scam linked to the deal. She said the safe city pilot project for Islamabad had detected faults in the scanner provided to it but the government went ahead with the purchase of two more scanners.

She urged the government to explain why the faulty scanners had not been replaced.

“It is despicable how the PML-N government is prepared to play with the lives of people simply to target the PTI,” she said. “In a genuine democracy, rulers would not have been able to get away with such a criminal, inhuman act.”

Published in Dawn March 10th , 2015