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LANDI KOTAL: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Tuesday distributed certificates among more than 100 de-radicalised former militants at a ceremony held at Shah Kas Levies Centre in Khyber tribal district.

He asked the de-radicalised militants to play role in development of the country.

Inspector General Frontier Corps (North) Maj Gen Rahat Naseem Ahmad Khan, Sector Commander Brig Shehbaz Akbar Qazi, other military and civil officials, MNA Iqbal Afridi and tribal elders from Khyber, Mohmand and Bajaur also attended the ceremony.

As many as 110 surrendered and arrested suspect militants and their facilitators completed the de-radicalisation course under the Sabawoon project of Frontier Corps KP (North).

This was the seventh batch to complete the course during which the de-radicalised militants were taught Islamic teachings, basic schooling, psychological and psychiatric treatment.

They were also trained in different useful trades to enable them to become useful and peaceful citizens.

The chief minister in his brief speech asked the participants of the course to play a positive role in the development and prosperity of the country. He also appreciated the role of the project instructors and teachers and said that it was due to their untiring efforts that some dangerous militants and terrorists were reformed and turned into peace-loving citizens.

The event was, however, marred by refusal of the organisers to allow local journalists to cover the event. Some tribal elders, who arrived late, were also not allowed to attend the event.

Some of the elders, who attended the ceremony, expressed displeasure over the presentation of a skit by the reformed persons in which the role of the tribal elders was ridiculed.

Bara Press Club president Khiyal Mat Shah in a statement expressed his anguish over not allowing the journalists to cover the event. He said that the administration invited them but then refused to permit them to cover the event.

Mr Shah demanded of the authorities to investigate the matter. He said that journalists would boycott all official functions till fulfillment of their demand.

Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2019