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December 10, 2019

Moot urges govt to honour pledge on merged districts mainstreaming


December 10, 2019

PESHAWAR: Politicians and members of the civil society and intelligentsia on Monday expressed concern over the non-implementation of the political, economic and administrative reforms in the merged tribal districts despite Fata’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 18 months ago.

They expressed these views at the Multi-Party Conference titled “Fata Mainstreaming: Unfinished Business” organised by the Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) at the Watan Kor here.

A declaration issued after the conference criticised the government for failing to release the funds amounting to billions of rupees to undertake uplift schemes and ensure implementation of reforms in social, political and judicial sector in the merged districts. The leaders of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Awami National Party (ANP), National Party (NP), Mazdoor Kisan Party (MKP), Pakhtunkhwa Ulasi Tehreek, Awami Workers Party and members of the civil society organisations attended the moot in large numbers.

QWP provincial Chairman Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao presided over the event. The declaration said that the residents of the merged districts had the right over the mines and mineral resources in their respective areas.

It maintained that enforcement of the Action In Aid of Civil power and other such laws in the merged districts was a violation of the Constitution. It demanded that the missing persons should be produced in courts.

The transparent use of the uplift funds through the elected public representatives should be ensured besides merging the services of the Khassadars and Levies personnel into the regular police in a bid to strengthen the civil administration to better maintain the law and order, the declaration added.

It said the alleged interference of the governor in the affairs of the merged districts should be stopped as the chief minister had the authority to exercise his powers after the merger.

The declaration maintained that the government must compensate the people who suffered losses during the war on terror and the subsequent military operations in the ex-Fata. It called for a fresh census in the merged areas in a bid to seek an increase in the share of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the National Finance Commission award. It demanded an impartial audit of the funds received from the international donor agencies for the rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in the merged districts.

“The government should honour the pledges about the construction of universities, colleges, hospitals and other infrastructure projects and extend interest-free loans to the people, particularly the women,” the declaration demanded.

The moot called for the establishment of banks and other financial institutions to facilitate the local population in obtaining the loans. Efforts were also stressed to promote the use of solar energy and improve the irrigation system to boost the agriculture sector in the merged districts.

The speakers called for ensuring the provision of the 30 percent funds from the provincial ADP to execute uplift projects in merged districts.

Speaking at the concluding session of the conference, Sikandar Sherpao said that they had reservations over the mineral act recently passed by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

He argued that the act was passed in haste in a bid to deprive the people of the merged districts of their right of ownership over their resources.

The QWP leader said they wanted equal rights for the people of the merged districts. He added prosperity was meaningless without giving rights to the people.

30 people arrested in drive against encroachments

The traffic police arrested 30 people during a drive against encroachments in the provincial capital on Monday.

An official of the traffic police said the drive against encroachments continued in Ramdas Bazaar, Nishtarabad, Circular Road, Chowk Yadgar and other trade centres and busy routes in Peshawar. The official said 30 people were arrested for blocking the road and creating hurdles to the smooth flow of traffic.