PESHAWAR: As movement for the merger of the tribal areas with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa picks up some momentum, tribespeople have not restricted their protests to the streets; they have been campaigning for the same on social media. So much so that Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra seems to have taken serious note of it.
“I will hold a meeting with the prime minister’s adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz, in which we will have a detailed discussion on future of the tribal areas,” a leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz quoted the governor as saying during an informal conversation at a wedding ceremony of the daughter of PML-N district president Sattar Khalil Saturday night. The governor reportedly commented the Federally Administered Tribal Areas would be merged with K-P only if residents of those areas and their representatives in the federal legislature and the Senate wanted this to happen.
The party worker said the governor was concerned about the situation in the region and the living conditions of tribespeople. “My first priority is to eliminate the menace of militancy from tribal areas which will be followed by a change in the lifestyle of tribespeople,” Jhagra was quoted as saying.
When asked what the governor said about the different groups that have been posing a threat to the party’s future in K-P, another senior member of the party said the governor wanted to resolve differences. “Yes, it was discussed and Jhagra said he will hold a meeting of federal ministers and party workers where workers’ grievances will be addressed,” the party member told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity.
He added the governor discussed the current position of the party with a few persons [with whom he started his political career with] at the wedding. “Jhagra vowed to bring the party back to how it was in 1997 when it formed government in K-P.”
When contacted, a senior leader of the party in K-P, Waqif Khan, told The Express Tribune the governor seemed interested in reshaping the party in K-P and promised the problems being faced by party workers will be resolved at the earliest.
“To be honest, he knew the party’s position and he promised to bring all the party workers [including different groups] on the same page,” Waqif said. “The complaints against the federal government will be resolved which I say is a good omen for the party’s future.”
While talking about the discussion with the governor, Waqif said they also wanted the tribespeople be pulled out of the century-old system and be brought under the Constitution of Pakistan.” He added the tribespeople were unhappy with the Frontier Crimes Regulations and above all its collective responsibility clause.
He said the governor vowed to start another movement for bringing party workers closer as it happened in 1994-95 when Tehreek-e-Nijat was launched and party workers gathered on a single platform.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2016.
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