LANDI KOTAL/ KHAR: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Thursday assured tribal people of respecting their customs under the new setup, a five-year tax holiday for ex-Fata and ex-Pata to remain intact and enhancing the compensation package for the martyrs of Levies force at par with that of K-P police.
Mahmood became the first CM of the province to officially visit Bjaur tribal district, where before the merger of ex-Fata with K-P the governor as representative of the president used to attend all official proceedings.
He also visited the fabled Bara Bazaar and addressed Jirga in Shah Kas Bara of Khyber tribal district.
In his address in Khar, the main town of Bajaur tribal district, CM Mahmood reiterated his commitment to speed up the merger process and extending judiciary to tribal areas.
Judges will start holding courts in tribal areas where for over a century the draconian Colonial law of Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) remained imposed and even after independence the tribal people suffered under it being denied the right to appeal, argument and presenting the case through a lawyer and the political agent’s verdict remained the final word.
The government will make decisions in the light of traditions of the tribal culture. It would protect the jirga system and the vacuum created by the winding up of FCR would be filled by the laws of the country. “We have multiple challenges after the merger but we have the wherewithal to overcome them.
Moreover, CM said local bodies’ and K-P assembly elections will be soon in the merged tribal district for devolution of authority to grass-root level.
Talking to the tribal elders Jirga at Shah Kas Bara in Khyber district, CM Mamood said that merged tribal districts will get its share in development budget as well its three per cent share in National Finance Commission (NFC) award to bring the area at par with other districts of K-P.
Levies Passing Out Parade
Addressing the passing out parade of the Levies Force, CM Mamood said the tribal people offered sacrifices for the creation of Pakistan and thereafter safeguarded and protected the frontiers of the country against all inimical elements.
“The sacrifices of Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps (FC), Levies, Khasadars, police and other security forces fully backed by the people brought peace and now we have to put our share for the durability of peace,” he said at the parade.
CM Mahmood announced Shuhda package for the Levies on the pattern of police Shuhda package.
MNA Gul Zafar, K-P government spokesman Ajmal Khan Wazir, FC North Inspector General Major General Rahat Naseem Ahmad Khan, Malakand Commissioner Syed Zahirul Islam Shah, officers of Bajur district administration, Pak Army's Sector Commander (North) Brig Raja Naeem Akbar, army officers, tribal elders, Levies jawans and other prominent figures attended the functions.
Mahmood told the gatherings about the plan for the overall development and mainstreaming of newly merged districts.
He said health and education were some areas where steps would be taken on emergency basis and the Sehat Insaf Card would be extended to the new districts.
Almost all departments have been extended to new districts adding that the vacuum created by the elimination of FCR would be filled by the country’s laws. He said that despite the abolition of Article 247 of the Constitution, there would be no taxes for Fata and Pata for next five years. His government would fulfill all the promises made with the tribal people. The federal government has pledged Rs100 billion for uplifting of new districts. The ongoing schemes in the new districts would continue and new one would be initiated, he assured.
Later Spokesman of the provincial government Ajmal Khan Wazir addressed these functions and added that the tribal would see a new era of development. The tribal offered tremendous sacrifices for the protection of the country and their traditions. Especially the tribal was the front liners in the war against terrorism. The government would provide jobs to the youth and safeguard their future. He said that under the sagacious leadership of Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan and Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, tribal would have a futuristic plan for their mainstreaming, protection and guaranteeing their rights and getting easy and accessible justice.
Note of dissent
Earlier on his visit the alliance of political parties, Insaf Students Federation and Tribal Youth Jirga have boycotted CM visit and have protest against district administration and elected representative MNAs on the arrival of CM.
Later, leaders of Bajaur political parties’ alliance, Tribal Youth Jirga and ISF representative told the media that the tribal administration had invited trbal elders who were against the merger plan.
The civil authorities ignored representatives of political parties instead invited anti-merger tribal elders for meeting with CM, they said.
The participants were of the view that Mehmood, being a political party’s CM, should have addressed a political gathering instead a Jirga of notable tribal elders who were always opposed to merger of Fata with K-P.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 4th, 2019.
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