Several silk power looms which had been shut for the last six years in Bara, Khyber Agency reopened on Wednesday. Khyber Agency’s industry had come to a grinding halt in 2009 when the scourge of militancy engulfed the region.
According to a handout, Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan was present at the occasion, accompanied by MNA Nasir Khan Afridi, MNA Shah Jee Gul Afridi, former minister Malik Waris Khan Afridi, Brigadier Jawad, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce President Fawad Ishaq and others.
The governor met factory workers and pledged government support for bringing the area’s historic textile industry back to life.
Mehtab said the reopening of factories was evidence that the government’s writ cannot be challenged any longer. “Over 6,000 people directly suffered due to the closure of these factories. It is time to give back to those who sacrificed for the country’s sake,” he said.
“Over 0.1 million displaced families took refuge in different camps across Peshawar, Kohat and the rest of the country,” he said. Over 30,000 families have returned home so far and the rest will soon find their native lands clear of militants, added Mehtab. “The government provided them with transportation allowances and cash grants of Rs25,000 which were disbursed through SIM cards.”
He announced a Rs1 billion package for the displaced tribespeople of Bara.
Bringing Bara back to life
“All the IDPs will be home by August this year,” he maintained. The governor said development projects “are already under way and the people will soon witness improvements in infrastructure”.
He added a comprehensive plan has been formulated to bring Bara Bazaar back to life. “Business activity will benefit everyone. The inauguration of power loom factories is a step in the right direction.”
He termed the support of locals critical. “Bigger industrial units will also be reopened soon.”
The governor was proud that the Pakistan Army achieved all its objectives in Zarb-e-Azb, Khyber-I and Khyber-II operations. “Use of force had become a necessity.”
The governor said, “Bara will soon be recognised globally with its industry.” He added the Shin Kamar Road project will be included in this year’s Annual Development Programme and new water channels will also be dug up. “Spera Dam will also see the light of day in the near future.”
The governor assured not a single scheme will be initiated without the consent of tribespeople.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2015.