PESHAWAR: Qaumi Watan Party leader Sikandar Hayat Sherpao has urged the government to expedite work on the process of mainstreaming merged tribal districts in true sense in order to start development schemes and remove the prevailing sense of deprivation among the people.

He made the demand while talking to a delegation of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan at his party secretariat, according to a statement issued here on Thursday.

The delegation members, including Ghazi Salahuddin, Hina Jilani and Parveen Soomro, discussed various issues with the QWP leader, particularly those pertaining to the merged tribal districts.

About deployment of the Pakistan Army troops during the upcoming election for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly in the tribal districts, Sikandar Sherpao said that his party had already expressed its concern over it. He said that the government was least bothered to take pragmatic steps for mainstreaming the merged districts. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan and his party’s provincial ministers had started visiting the areas just to muster public support in the elections. He called it pre-poll rigging.

He said that though the tribal areas had been merged into the province, the government did not pay any heed to resolve the issues being faced by the local population. “The government could not iron out a strategy to ensure service delivery and address grievances of the common man,” he said.

Sikandar Sherpao pointed out that a level playing field was not being provided to the candidates of opposition political parties. He claimed that the government-backed candidates were freely campaigning with full security in different areas. He also talked about violation of human rights in the merged tribal districts and vowed that his party would stand by the oppressed.

Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2019