PESHAWAR: Tribesmen from the Darra Adam Khel, Frontier Region (FR) of Kohat, have lauded the armed forces for rooting out militancy and also resolving a dispute over the income from the coal mines in the region.
Coal mines were discovered in the Akhorwal area of Darra Adam Khel, which is home to three sub-tribes including Gadia Khel, Pirwal Khel and BolakiKhel. These tribes make up around 20 villages and since there was no agreement on how the mines or the resultant revenue would be shared, the coal mine issue was pending for years.
If mined, the coal can change life for the local tribes, while also creating many jobs in the area. Keeping these benefits in mind, elders from the Akhorwal tribe decided to explore the mines in their area in 2013, however mining was suspended as there was no proper plan for sharing revenue.
According to details, in 2014 the Fata secretariat restored the leases of the land in the area, with the condition that the money distribution issue will be solved within 15 days.
The political administration then issued another order on May 5, 2015, allowing the mining of coal for about six months, enabling the miners to recover their investments and reach agreements with the tribesmen.
There were many efforts made by both the armed forces and the political administration to resolve the issues though various jirgas, however no solution could be reached and mining was again halted in December 2015.
The Pakistan Army, deployed in the area to combat militancy, in order to quell any tribal feuds advised the locals to hold a jirga amongst themselves, where all sub-tribes were also represented.
The people of Akhorwal then made a committee comprising elders of all the sub-tribes, so that terms and conditions could be discussed with the lease holders.
A decision was taken in March 2017 and after many attempts, the tribesmen finally reached a decision on July 23 through a jirga, which was endorsed by all stakeholders from the Akhorwal tribes.
During the second meeting between the Kohat Commissioner and 136 local elders, it was decided that the sub-tribe Pirwal Khel will receive 27 per cent and Bulaki Khel as well as Gadiya Khel will receive 36.5 per cent of the total income, respectively.
The army was lauded for its role in the settling of the coal mining issue while it will create job opportunities for at least 22,000 individuals.