PESHAWAR -  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf dissident member of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Ziaullah Afridi has started collecting alms for the development of the provincial capital, which he said was being ignored in uplift projects since long.

Ziaullah Afridi, former minister for mines and minerals, remained in jail for alleged corruption in allotment of mining leases and was recently released. Afridi is ever since severely criticising his party leadership and has even levelled corruption charges against Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Pervez Khattak.

The former minister has now come up with a unique campaign of collecting charities for the uplift of Peshawar.

Afridi visits various places in the city, carrying a begging bowl in his neck, and asks people to donate for his cause.

“It’s a symbolic drive aimed at awakening the people of Peshawar, who have been deprived since long. Unfortunately, every provincial government failed to show kindness to them, which is regrettable,” Afridi told The Nation.

Despite the fact that PTI had won all the four seats of national assembly and 10 out of 11 seats of the provincial assembly in 2013 general election, but the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government launched no remarkable development project for the city in the past four years, he lamented. He said he must put a simple question to PTI Chairman Imran Khan, that people of Peshawar voted for his party wholeheartedly, but what his government gave them in return. He answered his question himself, with “nothing”.

Afridi added that being a resident of Peshawar and an elected representative from the city, it was his responsibility to raise voice for the rights of the people of Peshawar.

He said Peshawar was being ignored as mega development projects were either being diverted to the chief minister’s hometown, Nowshera, or Mardan and Swabi.

He said he had no objection over launching of projects in the mentioned districts, but he was struggling for Peshawar’s share in development. In the second phase, I will be begging for donations at historic Qissakhwani and Khyber Bazaar, Afridi said.

He said the people of Peshawar were responding generously to his campaign. I handed over the amounts collected at Bashirabad and adjacent areas to elected local representatives on the spot, which they would spend on development of their constituencies, he added. Roads of the city are in dilapidated condition, which do not even give a look of being a provincial capital, he deplored.

Afridi alleged that Khattak was distributing development funds among his favourite people. “I have not been given funds for development of the city, which forced me to start begging campaign,” he said.

He reminded that KP government had pledged to develop Peshawar like Singapore, which he said was a joke with the people of the city.