Protesters block Karakoram Highway in Pattan on Monday. — Dawn
Protesters block Karakoram Highway in Pattan on Monday. — Dawn

MANSEHRA: The people of Kolai on Monday took to the streets in Pattan, the district headquarters of Lower Kohistan, warning the provincial government against notifying Palas as the headquarters of the newly-formed Kolai-Palas district.

The chief minister had notified Kolai-Palas as a district last year but the decision about its headquarters has yet to be made.

The protesters, who belonged to Kolai, blocked the Karakoram Highway for two hours shouting slogans against the PTI government.

“We will never accept the government’s decision if Palas is made the headquarters of Kolai-Palas district,” local elder Malik Ghulan Nabi told protesters.

He said Chief Minister Pervez Khattak had called elders from both Kolai and Palas early that month but didn’t listen to Kolai’s about their grievances and favoured former MPA Maulana Asmatullah of Palas.

Another elder, Maulana Abdul Rehman, said members of a commission formed by the chief minister and led by Hazara division commissioner recently visited Palas and returned without hearing their grievances.

“We will block the Karakoram Highway for indefinite period if Palas is made the district headquarters of Kolai-Palas,” he warned.

The PTI government had divided Kohistan into three districts, Upper and Lower Kohistan and Kolai-Palas, last year.

STRIKE THREATENED: The local transport drivers and owners have rejected the new traffic system for Mansehra city and announced that they will not clean streets and plant saplings in parks as punishment for violating traffic laws.

Taking to the streets here, they warned they would go on an indefinite wheel-jam strike if they’re subjected to new punishments.

Transporter leader Shafique Khan Swati said owners and drivers of public transport vehicles from across the city would meet today (Tuesday) to decide future course of action against the new traffic system.

He accused the police of imposing heavy fines on transporters ‘unreasonably’ and demanded the relevant authorities to step in to ensure end to such ‘injustices’.

Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2018

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