With all the talk of new provinces in the country, some politicians in Swat feel that it may be an opportune time to demand provincial status for Malakand division.
Proponents of the idea point out that the division – which until 2000 included Chitral, Lower Dir, Upper Dir, Swat, Buner, Shangla, and Malakand districts – is three times larger in terms of geographic area than the Hazara division, which is also seeking a provincial status.
“Inshallah, after Eid-ul-Fitr, a movement with new zest and zeal will be initiated for the Malakand province,” said Abdu Raheem, president of the Swat Traders Federation and a leader of the local branch of the Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q).
“We have a lot of natural resources like marble, emeralds, forests and water which are in the clutches of other people and we don’t have any benefit from them,” he said. “To to secure these resources, the establishment of a Malakand province is indispensible.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2011.