BATKHELA: Political forces and parliamentarians from Malakand Division joined hands in a bid to address the basic needs of the region and ensure it is included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Elected representatives of the K-P Assembly, Senate, National Assembly and local government nazims held a grand meeting in Chakdara on Sunday. Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq chaired the meeting and it was attended by representatives of all political parties in the division. They demanded Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif include Malakand Division in the CPEC and start work on the expressway to develop tourism.
The jirga participants formed a 25-member committee of MNAs, MPAs and the seven district nazims of the division. The officials will meet the prime minister and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak to present their problems. It was decided committee members would meet again in February to revisit their joint agenda.
Siraj said the CPEC was a project which could change fortunes and the militancy-hit Malakand Division should have a share. “We hope the prime minister does not turn down the demands of this jirga.”
The meeting also asked for the supply of natural gas to all seven districts of Malakand and stressed there was a dire need to control deforestation.
The participants shed light on the importance of reconstructing roads damaged by militancy and military operations. The participants demanded the reconstruction of main roads and to start work on the Malakand expressway.
In a joint declaration, the jirga urged the prime minister announce Rs30 billion as a special package for the people of Malakand Division to compensate for losses caused by natural calamities and militancy over the last six years.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2016.