PESHAWAR: The participants of Pakhtun Qaumi Jirga have demanded of the government to take action against all private militias and terrorist networks to ensure provision of safety and all constitutional rights to Pakhtuns.
They asked the neighbouring countries to support peace process in Afghanistan.
The jirga, called by Awami National Party to discuss the issues faced by Pakhtuns, was held in Bacha Khan Markaz here on Tuesday.
The representatives of all the major political parties including leader of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement attended the jirga. A 21-point declaration was also issued on the occasion.
The jirga decided to form a committee on March 25 to implement the decisions made in the meeting. Peace process in Afghanistan was on the top in the declaration as the jirga hailed initiation of the process in the neighbouring country.
Urges neighbours to support peace process in Afghanistan
ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan said that trust was important between Pakistan and Afghanistan as distrust between the two neighbours could lead to disaster. Opening trade route could lead to improve ties between the two countries.
The jirga unanimously declared that Pakhtuns suffered a lot owing to terrorism and it was observed that despite military operations militant outfits were still organised.
The jirga demanded of the government to take action against all private militias and terrorist networks to ensure provision of safety and all constitutional rights to Pakhtuns.
The jirga also demanded rehabilitation of the people displaced owing to military operations against militants. It demanded full compensation to those Pakhtuns, whose houses and businesses were damaged. It asked government to provide opportunities to them to start businesses.
The jirga also took up the issue of missing persons and demanded that cases of forced disappearance were a matter of grave concern for Pakhtuns. All such missing persons should be produced and presented before courts, it said.
The participants of the jirga also discussed the issue of landmines and anti-personnel mines that were still making children, women and youth disabled in tribal districts. They said that security forces should remove the mines and stop violation of human rights.
The jirga also demanded formation of a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate crimes committed against people of the conflict-hit area during war against terrorism. It said that the incident of Khar Qamar and other such occurrences should be investigated through judicial inquiry.
The jirga demanded implementation of 18th Amendment that gave more powers and autonomy to the provinces over their resources. It demanded of the federal government to pay net hydel profit to the provinces.
It said that federal government should give more autonomy to the provinces over water resources in real sense. It also demanded control over minerals and rejected mineral law enacted by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.
The jirga discussed the issue of census and blocking of National Identity Cards of people and said that reservations of Pakhtuns should be removed. It said that provinces should be allowed to decide educational matters and curriculum. It expressed concerns over deterioration of public sector universities and demanded steps to improve academic environment of the universities.
The jirga criticised what it called biased reporting and image of Pakhtuns displayed in media and said that proper coverage should be given to Pakhtuns.
The participants of the jirga also discussed the trade routes and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and share of Pakhtuns in such projects. They said that trade with Afghanistan should be opened through all trade routes and all newly merged districts should be connected through highways with each other.
The jirga said that Pakhtuns should have full right on sale of tobacco and government should ensure that the area growing the crop got full profit from its sale. It also rejected Action in Aid of Civil Power Regulation and demanded of the government to abolish it.
The jirga also said that constituencies of Shirani and Harnai districts of Balochistan should be restored. It rejected privatisation of hospitals and demanded best and essential health services for Pakhtuns.
Asfandyar Wali Khan later told journalists that the jirga hailed initiation of peace process in Afghanistan. He said that he hoped peace would prevail in Afghanistan.
Published in Dawn, March 11th, 2020