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November 6, 2017

Asfandyar wants Chinese role in Afghanistan

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November 6, 2017

CHARSADDA: Awami National Party President Asfandyar Wali Khan urged China on Sunday to play a role in defusing the tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan to ensure peace in the region and save the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

“China should become a guarantor of peace between the two countries or the CPEC would continue to be overshadowed by terrorism,” he said after speaking at a Tribal Youth Jirga of various political parties and a press conference.

The ANP chief said China would have to play the role of a mediator between Pakistan and Afghanistan to have their disputes resolved. “This is a must or else the multibillion CPEC projects would face the threat of terrorism,” he warned.

He believed that ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif handed all the benefits of the CPEC to Punjab, ignoring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). He said 80 per cent of the country’s mineral resources were sited in Fata. He feared that the present policy on the CPEC would lead to a waste of these 80 percent Fata resources.

About his demand for the merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Asfandyar said the ANP was the first party which had raised a voice for the merger and even called an all parties conference for that. “Even [Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief] Mehmood Khan Achakzai and [Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl head] Maulana Fazlur Rehman were invited to the moot,” he recalled.

The ANP chief said the former prime minister got approved from the federal cabinet the recommendations of the Fata Reforms Committee but did not move the bill in parliament after reservations expressed by Mehmood Khan Achakzai and Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

Asfandyar was critical of Maulana Fazlur Rehman for his opposition to the Fata merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “His stand has no logic. Why is Maulana Fazlur Rehman opposing the merger which is supported by the tribal people and parliamentarians?” he questioned.

The ANP chief said the British ruled the Fata 70 years ago. “The region joined Pakistan after the departure of the British but strangely enough still the laws introduced by the British are in force in Fata. A political agent, who is a grade-18 public servant, is the king of Fata,” he pointed out.

Asfandyar said Azad Jammu and Kashmir had the independent status just because of the  sacrifices of the tribal people. “The tribal people fought alongside the Pakistan Army in 1965 and 1971 wars but they have been kept deprived of basic human rights,” he lamented.

The ANP chief said his party would launch a movement for the Fata-KP merger after forging an alliance with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Pakistan People’s Party, Jamaat-e-Islami, Qaumi Watan Party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Samiul Haq Group and parliamentarians from the tribal region.

The ANP chief said his party had serious reservations over the census figure of Fata.Asfandyar said giving access to the tribal population only to the Islamabad High Court was a joke with them.He called for immediate merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which should be followed by giving the region due representation in the provincial assembly and cabinet.

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