ISLAMABAD -  The federal government has again ignored the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), the country’s supreme counter-terrorism body, by allocating only Rs140 million for it out of the total allocation of Rs91.18 billion for internal security and law and order for the fiscal year 2017-18.

Besides the NACTA, the Narcotics Control Division also remained on the low priority of the government as it has been allocated only Rs2.48 billion to carry out its anti-narcotics operations throughout the country, both on borders and within the cities.

The federal government has allocated 91.18 billion rupees for law and order of the country in the finance bill of 2017-18 that is slightly high as compared to Rs86.64 billion allocation of the previous financial year.

Besides, an amount of Rs 15.6 billion have been allocated for the development projects under Interior Division and out of this allocation, an amount of Rs1.8 billion have been earmarked for the provision of security to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor Project (CPEC) related projects.

However, NACTA has been allocated only 140 million rupees against its revised budget allocation of 1.56 billion rupees for the last financial year. NACTA chief has been demanding around Rs2 billion for the re-organisation of NACTA to make it a powerful body as part of the National Action Plan (NAP) on counter-terrorism.

The government had allocated Rs109 million for NACTA for the fiscal year 2016-17 but finance ministry later agreed to release additional amount to it to the tune of Rs 1.56 billion as revised allocation.

The re-organisation and reactivation of NACTA was part of the 20-point NAP announced in December 2014 after the Army Public School (APS) terrorist attack in Peshawar.

The civil armed forces, including the Frontier Corps KP as well as Frontier Corps Balochistan got a major share amounting to Rs44.98 billion out of this total allocation. Rangers, a paramilitary force, has got second priority on budget allocation as Rs19.7 billion allocated for the force to carry out its counter-terrorism operations in Punjab and Sindh.

Out of the total allocation of Rs91.18 billion, the federal government has allocated Rs44.98 billion for civil armed forces, Rs19.7 billion for Rangers, Rs8.2 billion for Frontier Constabulary, Rs7.6 billion for  expenditures of Islamabad administration as well as police, Rs2.1 billion for Passport Organisation, Rs2.48 billion for Narcotics Control Division, Rs1.81 billion for Pakistan Coast Guards,  Rs3.49 billion for other expenditures and Rs740 million have been for expenditures of the interior division.

Out of interior division budget, Rs 30.1 million have been allocated for the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, Rs 20.8 million for the National Public Safety Commission, Rs 70.3 million have been earmarked for Integrated Border Management System and Rs 40.9 million for Directorate General Civil Defence Islamabad. Similarly, Rs5.6 million have been earmarked for the security of VIPs, Rs270 million each have been allocated for UN Peace Missions Haiti and Sudan and Rs2.2 million for relief and repatriation of civil internees.

Separately, the government under the Public Sector Development Programme 2017-18, has earmarked an amount of Rs15.6billion for the development projects under Interior Division. Out of this allocation, Rs4.9 billion have been allocated for the new projects while over Rs10 billion have been allocated for the ongoing schemes. An amount of Rs1.8 billion has been earmarked for provision of security to the CPEC related projects, Rs300 million have been allocated for establishment of model police stations in ICT as well as police reforms while another Rs406 million have been allocated for the National Forensic Science Agency and Islamabad laboratory. Furthermore, Rs50 million have been allocated for Pakistan Automated Fingerprint Identification System (Phase-II).

ECP GETS RS271.99B IN BUDGET

Federal government on Friday announced Rs271.994 billion for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) with an increase of Rs11 billion against the Rs260.895 billion allocated last year.

The proposed increase in the budget indicates additional expenditures because of the general elections scheduled for early 2018.

This nominal increase in the budget also indicate that government has abandoned its multi-billion rupees plan to acquire electronic voting machines (EVMs) not essentially because of the cost but due to the fear of data hacking.

Soon after coming to power, the PML-N government had decided to acquire the EVMs to ensure a greater degree of transparency in the conduct of the general elections.

The election commission has already acquired some EVMs from Austria as part of a pilot project which will be tested and tried in the by-elections.