PESHAWAR, Jan 4: The strength of militants has increased so alarmingly that now, they can reach anywhere they want to carry out their activities, said provincial information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain on Friday.
“The time has come to take the final decision on whether to hold dialogue with militants or to begin a meaningful operation against them,” the minister told the provincial assembly on a point of order about the recent acts of militancy, especially the killing of seven aid workers, including six women, in Swabi.
Mr Hussain said a lot had been spoken in condemnation of militant attacks and therefore, it was direly needed to take militancy to its logical end.
He said there were two options with the government either to hold dialogue with militants and if it was not possible, then the second option was intensive operation against them.
The minister said all political parties and security agencies should get together to make an effective strategy before the government held dialogue with militants or went for operation against them.
He said former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Nawaz Sharif had favoured the stand of ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, who pushed the country’s political leadership for taking decisive steps against militancy.
He urged the leadership of other political groups to come forward for ending the evil of militancy forever.
Mr Hussain said militancy had increased in the province so dangerously that all other issues had become non-issues.
He said assassination of vaccinators and aid workers in the province, assault on Bacha Khan International Airport, assassination of minister Bashir Bilour and the kidnapping and subsequent killing of Levies personnel in a short span of time showed how strong militants had grown.
Speaking on a point of order, MPA Yasmeen Nazli Jaseem demanded government jobs for the relatives of the women aid workers killed in Swabi.
She said she had visited the houses of those workers and found their houses in dilapidated condition with families leading miserable life.
“All of the slain women were the sole breadwinners of their respective families,” she said.
Elementary and secondary education minister Sardar Hussain Babak told the House that the establishment department was creating hurdles to the appointment of senior teachers to Grade 16 and above.
“Unfortunately, the officials at the establishment department don’t realise the need for teachers at government schools,” he said, while responding to a question put by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl MPA Syed Janan about the shortage of teachers in Hangu.
The minister said his department had taken action against the teachers getting salary without performing duty.
He said the revival of the old system of governance after the enforcement of Local Government Act, 2012 would help expedite the appointment of teachers to schools in the province.
MPA Janan demanded that the government treat all districts justly over the reconstruction of schools hit by militancy and floods. He complained that such schools were rebuilt in Swat, Buner and Lower Dir districts only.
Another JUI-F lawmaker Mufti Kifayatullah and PML-N MPA Barrister Javed Abbasi showered praise on assassinated provincial minister Bashir Bilour for his bravery against militants. They declared Mr Bilour’s death tragic and a national loss.
Also, deputy speaker Khushdil Khan, MPAs Atifur Rehman, Mufti Syed Janan and law minister Arshid Abdullah spoke on the prolonged power outages in the province and said the suspension of electric supply for 12 to 20 hours a day was an injustice to the people.