Under the banner of Fata Students Federation (FSF), students across the city organised a rally in support of newly-appointed governor, Shaukatullah Khan, on Saturday.
They also condemned a writ petition filed in the Peshawar High Court (PHC) challenging Khan’s appointment on the basis of the 18 amendment, which states that a governor must be a registered voter and resident of the concerned province. However, the amendment does not mention the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), where the governor belongs to.
FSF President Haroon Luqman Afridi led the jubilant students in the march which started from Hashtnagri and culminated in front of the Peshawar Press Club. The students carried banners and placards inscribed with statements condemning the petition against the governor.
Afridi said the tribal people were being kept backward due to a pre-planned conspiracy. He added that the war on terror being carried out on Fata’s soil pushed them further into illiteracy and poverty, while the government kept on appointing governors who were unaware of the ordeals of people in the tribal belt.
“Ending military operations and drone attacks in Fata, reopening educational institutes and markets, facilitating the internally displaced and reconstructing homes ruined in the war are pressing matters which need to be addressed immediately,” Afridi said.
Fata Lawyers Forum (FLF) President Ijaz Mohmand, General Secretary Taj Mehal Afridi and Samiullah Afridi also participated in the rally. The FLF has already challenged the petition in the PHC.
Addressing students, Taj said the petition was an attempt to exclude the tribal people from playing any meaningful role and to restrict them from becoming a part of mainstream activities in the country. “Shaukatullah Khan does belong to Fata and he knows how to resolve the issues of oppressed tribesmen,” he added.
Ijaz, in his speech, alleged there were certain quarters who do not want peace and development in the tribal areas and they are resorting to tactics to try to remove Governor Khan.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2013.