KHYBER: Khyber Qaumi Jirga (KQJ) has demanded immediate separation of tribal districts from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, saying the merger has pushed the region into further backwardness and deprivation.
The demand was made during a jirga held in Jamrud on Tuesday that was attended by tribal elders of Khyber, Mohmand and Darra Adamkhel with KQJ chief Malak Bismillah Khan in the chair.
Addressing the jirga, Malak Bismillah Khan termed the merger a historic blunder and said that tribal areas were merged with the province at the behest of the United States under a foreign agenda.
He said that those, who supported the merger, were also now repenting their decision as the government failed to honour its promises and commitments made with the people of tribal areas before enforcement of the merger plan.
Demanding a separate province consisting of merged districts, the KQJ chief said that only the status of a separate province could help to alleviate the miseries and sufferings of the militancy-affected people of tribal areas.
“Both the federal and provincial governments are now backtracking on their promises of three per cent share in National Finance Commission, increase in share of jobs both at national and provincial level and above all bringing the impoverished region at par with the rest of the country in 10 years,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Malak Razaq Afridi called upon the mainstream political leadership of the country to support them in their demand for repeal of Fata’s merger through constitutional means and granting erstwhile Fata the status of a separate province.
He alleged that the merger was in fact aimed at depriving the people of the region of their natural resources and pushing the area into further poverty and deprivation.
Malak Razaq said that KQJ would soon launch a countrywide anti-merger campaign and would take all the stakeholders on board for a prompt repeal of the plan.
Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2021