Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday approved the setting up of a permanent military base in Swat Valley. “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has, in principle, approved and announced a brigade-level cantonment for Swat and (adjacent) Malakand areas,” his office said in a statement, adding that the approval came during his visit to Swat. “The prime minister lauded the role played by the army in bringing peace and stability to the area,” it added.
Earlier addressing a ceremony held for the promotion of the Prime Minister Youth Loan Scheme in Saidu Sharif, he said the people of Swat deserved the scheme the most. The government wants to encourage the youth to contribute to the country’s development, especially with peace restored in the area after a prolonged wave of militancy, the premier said.
He appreciated the people of Swat as they did not lose courage despite the mass displacement.
All the provinces will get their due share under the scheme according to their population and merit. The premier said he had wanted to introduce developmental packages for the youth in his previous terms as well, but he was not given the chance.
National Bank’s Board of Governors Chairman Munir Kamal also threw light on the loan scheme. A recorded message describing the scheme’s salient features was also played, which was interrupted due to technical glitches, at which the premier showed his displeasure to the administration.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shaukatullah, Adviser to Prime Minister Amir Muqam, Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, Deputy Speaker National Assembly Javed Abbasi and PML-N’s Central General Secretary Iqbal Zafar Jhagra were present at the occasion, however, no official of the provincial government attended the ceremony. Security was beefed up and the Mingora-Saidu Sharif road was closed, causing traffic jams.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2014.