TIMERGARA/MINGORA: A complete shutdown was observed in Malakand division against the elimination of special status and imposition of the taxes.
Markets in all the seven tehsils of Lower Dir district remained closed. The business activities were completely halted that caused the residents to face immense difficulty. No traffic was visible on the roads.
Addressing at a protest demonstration at the Timergara bazaar, president, Timergara Traders Association Anwaaruddin and leaders of all mainstream political parties in Dir including Maulana Asadullah of JI, Zahid Khan of ANP, Mahmood Zeb Khan of PPP, Maulana Muhammad Zahid of JUI-F and others condemned the act of eliminating special status of the Malakand division.
"We supported the merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but we will never accept removal of the PATA status from Malakand division," said one of the leaders, adding the people of Malakand division had suffered due to terrorism, earthquake and other calamities and the government should facilitate them instead of imposing new taxes on them.
In Swat, businesses centres remained closed against the abolishment of the special status of the region. The traders observed a complete shutdown against the abolishment of the special status of the Malakand division.
Abdur Rahim, traders' association president, visited and inspected various bazaars in Swat district.
Speaking on the occasion, he said shutdown, wheel-jam, hunger strikes and civil disobedience campaign would be launched if their demands were not met. The government would be held responsible for any law and order situation in the region, he pointed out.
"The previous government had formed a commission under the supervision of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Sartaj Aziz to abolish Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR)," he said and lamented that the government deliberately abolished 247 Act of Constitution to end the special status of the Malakand division.
He said the government should have made amendments in the 247 Act of the Constitution.
The trader representative said the people from all walks of life including traders, politicians, lawyers, doctors and journalists would not tolerate the decision and would launch a protest against it.
He asked the government to review the decision and restore the special status of the Malakand division or else a protest campaign would be launched.