TIMERGARA: Senior Khyber Pakhtunkhwa minister and Jamaat-i-Islami deputy chief Sirajul Haq on Friday declared interest-free banking the only way for the country’s economic development.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the Bank of Khyber’s (BoK) branch at Kumbar Maidan, the minister said banking and businesses based on interest system was a major reason of the country’s poor economic condition.

He said if the people voted it to power, his party would make the country’s entire economic and banking system purely Islamic and interest-free.

The minister said interest-based economy was destroying the foundations of the society.

He praised BoK for serving the people through Islamic interest-free banking and said local traders and wealthy people should benefit from the opening of its branch in their area.

Mr Haq said he had endeavoured for the shifting of the BoK branch from Samar Bagh to Maidan over the local people’s repeated demands.

He said he was hopeful that the people of Maidan would benefit from Islamic banking in the area.

Local MPA Saeed Gul, JI Maidan chief Haji Fazal Wahab, Deputy Commissioner, Lower Dir Mohammad Zubair, Assistant Commissioner Lal Qila Sheharyar Khan, BoK representatives Syed Ali Gilani, Imran Samad and Masood Khan, bankers and local elders were present on the occasion.

HUNGER STRIKE CAMP: The sacked employees of Working Focus Grammar School, Chakdara continued hunger strike for fifth consecutive day on Friday at a special camp put up here, vowing to stay put until reinstatement.

A total of 204 employees from grade 1 to grade 17, including women and special persons, were recruited by the provincial labour department last year when Qaumi Watan Party lawmaker Bakht Baidar Khan held the portfolio.

The school was closed and its employees were fired after the PTI-led government sacked the minister for corruption two months ago.

The sacked employees, who have been protesting sacking for two months, set up a hunger strike camp in front of the school five days ago.

Several political leaders, including Farid Khan Yousafzai of PML-N, Hamayun Khan of JI, Javed Khan of JUI-F and Lateefur Rehman of QWP, visited the camp on Friday and expressed solidarity with protesters.

However, no official of the labour department or the district administration has visited the camp until now.

The protesters said they had performed duty at the school for over four months but got no salary and that they were sacked by the government without citing any reason.