Friday, 12 June 2015

An open letter to DFID regarding political activities of Alif Ailaan

I would like to share my concerns with you regarding furthering of a political agenda by a DFID funded NGO, Alif Ailaan (AA) in Pakistan. For the last several weeks, a television / print campaign has been launched on Pakistani media that apparently aims to pressure the Federal Government into increasing budgetary allocation for education to 4% of GDP. I have no objection to the underlying goal but the campaign reeks of a political agenda to misguide the Pakistani public into believing that resource allocation for education is primarily the responsibility of the Federal Government.

I am sure AA is well aware that after the 18th constitutional amendment, education is a Provincial subject. Resource allocation for education is the decision made independently by each of the Provincial governments and has nothing to do with the centre. Yet AA repeatedly names the Federal Government and the Federal finance minister in its campaign with absolutely no mention of the Provincial Chief Ministers or the Provincial governments. The general Pakistani public is not aware of where the constitutional responsibility lies and is likely to be misled into blaming the Federal Government for the lack of fund allocation to education. The Federal Government already distributes 57.5% of the divisible pool among the provinces and it has no control over how each province decides to allocate these resources. Even if the Federal Government were to increase the divisible pool, it would have no constitutional authority to specify Provincial budgetary allocation for education.

AA, in its defense, might cite Article 25A of the constitution which reads:
The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law.
A cursory reading might lead one to believe that this puts the burden on the Federal Government but if we look up the definition of “the State” in Article 7 of the constitution, it reads
“the State" means the Federal Government, Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), a Provincial Government, a Provincial Assembly, and such local or other authorities in Pakistan as are by law empowered to impose any tax or cess.
Other justifications that AA might put forward include promises made in the ruling party’s manifesto. All parties should be held accountable but only to the extent of the provinces where they hold sufficient majority to influence budgetary allocation.

I have expressed my concerns openly on twitter tagging AA’s twitter handle @alifailaan but no clarification or justification has been put forth in response. I request you to kindly look into the matter and advise AA to refrain from using DFID funds to further political agendas of its management. This money will produce better results if spent on ensuring judicious use of allocated funds in the provinces.


A Concerned Pakistani Citizen

1 comment:

  1. You have pointed out the very right thing. Their campaign looks like a campaign against the ruling party. Instead they should have pointed out the rangabazian of provincial governments ..