SOUTH WAZIRISTAN: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Thursday asked other three provinces to fulfil commitments for the provision of three per cent of their respective share in the National Finance Commission Award for the development of the newly-merged tribal districts.

“Only Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has fulfilled its commitment regarding the provision of three per cent share in NFC to tribal districts. During the current financial year, developmental funds less than Rs50 billion will not be accepted at any cost,” he told a jirga of elders here.

Before the Fata-KP merger, all four provinces had committed the provision of three per cent of their respective NFC Award share for the development of the the underdeveloped region. They except KP backed out of their commitment.

Mr Mahmood told elders that the provision of Rs100 billion development package to tribal districts annually was taken up in the recent meeting of the Council of Common Interests.

He also said he had taken up the proposed tax exemption for five more years with the prime minister and expected a positive response.

An official statement said the provincial ministers, Peshawar Corps Commander Lt-General Nauman Mahmood and Inspector General Frontier Corps (South) Major-General Umar Bashir also accompanied the chief minister during the visit.

Mr Mahmood performed the groundbreaking of 41km Kotki-Karama-Koniguram Road and 10km Jana Tai-Takai-Nishpa Road, and inaugurated 40-bed Category-D hospital in Toi Khulla area. The hospital offers care in six specialties.

Addressing jirgas in Kaniguram and Toi Khulla area, the chief minister said the Fata-KP merger had almost been completed, while the government was focusing its attention on the region’s speedy development.

He said efforts were being made to set up border markets and economic zones in the tribal districts with an aim to create the maximum possible employment opportunities for the local residents.

Mr Mahmood said the development of tribal districts was the top most priority of his government.

“Being the chief minister of the province, he is fighting at all available forums for the rights of the tribal people,” he said.

The chief minister said his government was going all-out to ensure the rapid and sustainable development of the tribal districts so that the issues of the residents could be addressed on a sustainable basis.

He said the developmental strategy of the provincial government would bring about a new era of development and prosperity in the region.

Talking about the ongoing development activities in the erstwhile Fata, the chief minister said work on various development schemes in the education and health sector of the tribal region was in progress, whereas small dams would be constructed to develop agriculture sector in tribal districts.

He said projects would be initiated to develop the tourism sector in the merged tribal areas.

Mr Mahmood said the government would resolve all issues facing the people of the tribal districts one by one.

He asked the commissioner of Dera Ismail Khan district to produce a detailed report on the issues of South Waziristan tribal district. He said the administration was already working to settle disputes amongst tribes regarding land ownership and that the traditional jirga system was being restored to resolve all local issues in a peaceful manner.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2020

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