The movement for a separate Hazara province gained momentum on Tuesday when the district chapters of all major political and religious parties agreed to form an advocacy group Suba Hazara Tehrik.
The announcement came at a news conference held after a meeting where the decision was made. The council will be headed by former mayor of Mansehra district Sardar Muhammad Yousuf. Hazara-based district heads of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf, Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and Samiul Haq, and Sunni Tehreek participated in the meeting. However, members of coalition partner in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Awami National Party (ANP) and opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) distanced themselves from the group.
“The council will apply a two-pronged policy. From outside the parliament, we will mount pressure on the government and within the assemblies, we will garner support for the adoption of a resolution making the Hazara division a province,” Yousuf said.
Bringing attention to the struggle for Hazara province, he said that seven people had been shot dead by police on April 12, 2010, during a demonstration by supporters of the struggle.
“We will not let this sacrifice go to waste,” he said. “The movement proved as a catalyst for the demand of new federating units and has gained momentum within a short span of time.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2011.