ISLAMABAD - The federal and provincial governments’ apparent reluctance to release development funds to the members of assemblies has brought the PTI lawmakers at odds with the party leadership as the former believe that this would dent their popularity graph.

They think that lack of developmental activities in their respective constituencies would adversely affect them politically.

Since the PTI came into power in the centre and in Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in August 2018, non-release of development funds has turned out to be a major bone of contention between the respective governments and lawmakers from the ruling party.

Consequently, numerous PTI lawmakers have publicly expressed their reservations over pending release of development funds. In the recently held budget session, several PTI legislators had minced no words to state in the parliament that prolonged delay in releasing the development funds on the part of federal government was costing them dearly on the grounds that the electorates of their respective constituencies are angered seeing practically no development in their areas for the last two years.

Apart from economic constraints and outbreak of COVID-19, not releasing the development funds has much to do with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s policy to empower local government institutions and shift development funds from federal and provincial legislatures to the LG bodies in the long run, background interviews with some party leaders revealed.

However, this policy has not gone down well with the PTI MNAs and MPAs who believe that lack of development funds would deprive them of any solid ground to contest their rivals in their home constituencies.

Lawmakers from Punjab, the South in particular, from Karachi in Sindh, Balochistan and even Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the political stronghold of PTI, have openly voiced their concerns over the inordinate delay in the release of development funds.

Many MNAs and MPAs during the internal party meetings have been found protesting with the party leadership about no development works in their respective constituencies, the official party sources informed The Nation.

Recently, Ahmed Hussain Deharr, PTI MNA from Multan, in a TV interview had said that the federal government has not been resolving issues of the party MNAs. He said that he had proposed construction of an expo centre in Multan in a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan but the same was not being considered for the last six months.

He also said that many of the PM’s directives about proposed development projects of MNAs were not being implemented and this was a cause of major concern among the lawmakers. Federal Minister of Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry, who is known for his bold remarks, more than once has criticized the Punjab government for not releasing the development funds to the districts.