Thousands of people assembled in Mansehra, on Friday, to demand a new district comprising the areas inhabited by the dominant Tanoli tribe.
Villagers from over twenty union councils from Mansehra, Abbottabad and Haripur districts gathered in Darband in support of Tanawal district.
Speaking on the occasion, former five-time MNA and a descendent of Nawab of Amb, Nawabzada Salahuddin Saeed said that the area, once part of the former princely state of Amb, was inhabited by the Tanoli tribe.
After the annexation of Amb state with Pakistan, he said Tanawal was neglected and the people were deprived of their basic rights and development over the past six decades.
“During my tenure as MNA I did my best to initiate development schemes in the area but the lack of interest by successive governments acted as a major deterrent to development,” Saeed added.
He said the ANP, the ruling party in the province, had struggled for 63 years to rename the North West Frontier Province as Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the same was the case with the people from the region popularly known as Tanawal, who have been demanding their separate district. Tanoli is the biggest tribe in upper and lower Tanawal.
He urged the provincial government to respect the demands of people from lower and upper Tanawal and announce the creation of the new district.
Former provincial minister Habibur Rehman Tanoli said the Tanoli tribe would unconditionally support ANP if the provincial government creates Tanawal district. He expressed the hope that the ANP leadership would not disappoint the Tanolis and grant them their own identity.
Provincial minister for information Mian Iftikhar Hussain also supported the proposal for Tanawal district provided the Tanolis could develop consensus before taking a final decision.
“The issue of Tanawal district will be taken up with the government after the next census which is likely to be carried out in the near future.”
Provincial minister asked participants to constitute a consensus committee to negotiate with all stakeholders and finalise the number of union councils which would like to be part of the proposed district and decide where the headquarters should be situated.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2012.