Sunday June 23, 2024

Mohmand elders protest over nephrite lease dispute

By Shakirullah Mohmand
June 07, 2024
A representational image shows people sitting while an elder speaks. — AFP/File
A representational image shows people sitting while an elder speaks. — AFP/File

GHALLANAI: Tribal elders in Ambar tehsil of the Mohmand tribal district staged a protest, asserting that the agreement for the Kotki nephrite mine lease had been made exclusively with the Sur Tangi Mining Company.

They emphasised that they have not entered into any deal with any other party. These sentiments were expressed by tribal elders, including Maulana Gulab Noor Khan and Malik Izzat Khan from Adam Kor village, during an interaction with the media at Daroo Bazaar in Ambar tehsil.

The elders stated that the Kotki nephrite lease agreement had been unanimously decided with Sur Tangi Mining Company, and the tribe has no dealings with Khan Mining Company.

They urged the government to avoid making decisions that could lead to unemployment among local youth. The elders stressed the importance of considering the broader interests of the tribe to prevent any potential violence.

They stated that the Khan Mining Company kept the Kotki nephrite lease inactive for 10 years, which led the elders of Adam Kor to terminate their agreement with Khan Mining Company and enter into an agreement with Sur Tangi Mining Company.

They mentioned that the district administration held four general meetings attended by 600 elders who confirmed the lease of the Kotki nephrite mountain to Sur Tangi Mining Company.

Despite repeated invitations from the district administration, the owner of Khan Mining Company failed to attend the meetings. Consequently, the deputy commissioner issued an NOC (No Objection Certificate) to Sur Tangi Mining Company, granting them a lease over 2.68 acres.

However, the Khan Mining Company took the matter to the high court, which ruled on May 22, 2024, that the total area is 4 acres, with one acre to be given to Khan Mining Company. The elders opposed this decision, arguing that the tribe had terminated its agreement with Khan Mining Company 10 years ago and requested the court to reconsider its decision and deliver justice.