Monday July 15, 2024

Political verbal war gets dirtier with each passing day

By Akhtar Shahzad & Malik Irfan Burki
April 25, 2019

WANA: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday that he has not become a leader on a chit like Bilawal “Sahiba”. He said he will not give NRO to ‘corrupt’ politicians and Pakistan has suffered a lot after joining hands with the US in its war on terror.

He said the people who are creating unrest among tribal youth are getting money from abroad. He was addressing a gathering at the Cadet College Spinkai, which was packed with notables and elders of the Mahsud tribe and the office-bearers and activists of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

He said no Gen Jilani had made him the chief minister and his price is not a diesel permit like Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, senior officials of the military and civil administration were also present on the occasion.

A traditional tribal turban was placed on the Prime Minister’s head as per the local culture. Khan said he was aware of the hardships being faced by the people of South Waziristan tribal district, adding that they had been deprived of their rights for the last 70 years.

Referring to the merger of erstwhile Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Khan said it would help address the issues of the tribal people even though it would take some time. The prime minister elaborated that his government was working for the development of the country and trying to address the problems facing the poor people.

“The people of former tribal areas have rendered matchless sacrifices for the restoration of peace in the country. We will not spare any effort to mitigate their suffering,” he added. Khan said he had seen the suffering of the tribal people as he had visited the former tribal areas many times. “My mother belonged to the Burki tribe living in Kaniguram in South Waziristan,” he recalled.

He said that Rs100 billion would be spent per annum on the uplift of tribal districts for the next 10 years to provide healthcare, education and other facilities to the people. The prime minister said that the owners of houses destroyed during militancy and military operations would be compensated, the area inhabited by the Mehsud tribe would be linked to Afghanistan and the mineral resources tapped for the benefit of local population.

“The people from other areas would come here in search of jobs,” he claimed. Khan said that the past rulers did nothing for the poor and underprivileged people and looted the national exchequer. “They pushed the people to backwardness and country to bankruptcy” he maintained.

He said that the lot of the Pakistani nation should have been changed decades ago but now the PTI would establish ‘Naya Pakistan.’ The prime minister said the Mehsud tribe had rendered unprecedented sacrifices for the integrity of the country and these were acknowledged by everyone.

He said that 72,000 health cards would be distributed among the Mehsud families. He also announced assistance for rehabilitation of the people and infrastructure projects. He added that 100 kilometres long roads would be constructed in the Mehsud area.

Imran Khan said the issue of the establishment of district headquarters would be solved through consultation and with consensus. He said that a decision made in haste would lead to disputes among the local people.

He said that solar-driven system would be introduced in South Waziristan district to help ensure steady supply of electricity. He announced the establishment of two colleges one each for boys and girls in Wana.

The prime minister came down hard on leaders of opposition parties for, what he said, joining together to hide their corruption. “I will not bow to any pressure. My long struggle to make the country corruption-free will continue,” he said.

Referring to the Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as Bilawal Sahiba, the premier said unlike him he had come to power through years-long political struggle. He also criticised Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman as an opportunist who would remain silent if he was offered the Kashmir committee’s chairmanship or permits for diesel.

The prime minister also said that some element were misguiding the youth in the region. “Some of them are getting foreign funding,” he added. Earlier, an elder of Mahsud tribe Malik Masood Khan apprised the prime minister about the problems facing the people and highlighted their demands.