PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani on Monday directed the police department to book its officers, who held the offices of the regional police officer of Hazara division and district police officer of Abbottabad in 2010, over the police firing against the people protesting the renaming of the province and demanding the creation of Hazara province.
He also asked Inspector General of Police Dr Sanaullah Abbasi, who was present in the officers’ gallery during an assembly session, to remove the names of 10 people, including him, from the FIR registered over violence.
The development came after two lawmakers of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz from Hazara region, on a joint point of order, raised the issue of Hazara province on the 11th anniversary of the deadly Abbottabad clashes, which occurred in April 2010 after the renaming of the province.
The clashes between the police and supporters of Tehreek Sooba Hazara left seven people dead and around 200 injured.
The political parties and civil society groups in Hazara division had jointly launched a movement for Hazara province after the passage of 18th Constitutional Amendment, which changed the name of NWFP as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Mr Ghani, who belongs to Abbottabad and is a staunch supporter of Hazara province, rejected the report of the judicial commission into the Abbottabad violence as ‘biased’.
The ANP-PPP government had set up a judicial commission headed by a judge of the Peshawar High Court to probe the incident.
“Ironically, the police have yet to register an FIR against the officials responsible for the killing of people in the police firing,” said the speaker.
MPAs Maleha Asghar Khan of the PTI and Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha of the PML-N reiterated the demand for the creation of Hazara province.
Speaking on a point of order, Ms Maleha said the creation of ‘Sooba Hazara’ was incorporated in the PTI’s election manifesto and that the people of Hazara division had laid down lives for it.
She said the government should replicate the model of South Punjab and establish a separate secretariat for Hazara province.
Mr Nalotha supported the PTI lawmaker and said the creation of Hazara province was a genuine demand of the people of Hazara region.
He demanded that the government take action against the officials, who had ordered the brutal action against protesters in Abbottabad and Mansehra in April 2010.
He demanded the formation of a new commission to probe the Abbottabad firing incident.
ANP member Sardar Hussain Babak said his party respected the people’s democratic rights but the people shouldn’t flare up the issue along ethnic, language and regional lines.
He said the residents of Malakand and erstwhile Fata could also demand separate provinces for themselves.
Minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai said the government was trying to address the issues of all communities and linguistic groups in the province.
He said Hazara region had sufficient representation in the provincial cabinet, while several mega development projects were under way there.
The minister said industrial zone was being established in Mansehra district, while a survey for linking Galiyat with Islamabad had been completed.
The assembly admitted the adjournment motion of PML-N MPA Ikhtiar Wali regarding the deteriorating land and order situation in the province, especially the growing street crimes in Peshawar.
According to the motion, 72 people were killed in Peshawar during the first quarter of the current year.
The opposition lawmaker insisted that the cases of kidnapping for ransom, sexual harassment and car snatching were on the rise in the provincial capital.
The house passed the Peshawar development Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2021, and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Urban Mass Transit (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
The chair later adjourned the sitting until 2pm today (Tuesday).
Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2021