KHYBER: Fata Qaumi Jirga (FQJ) has shown reservations and displeasure over what it calls the ‘forceful and illegal occupation’ of private properties by the government in different parts of Orakzai and Khyber tribal districts.

In a meeting held in Jamrud on Monday, the FQJ leaders demanded that the properties should be returned to owners.

They alleged that government had unlawfully occupied personal properties of local tribesmen in Ferozkhel area in Orakzai and Bhutan Shareef in Maidan Tirah valley of Khyber without any prior notices or taking the owners into confidence.

The meeting was attended by tribal elders from former frontier regions of Kohat and Peshawar besides Orakzai, Khyber and Bajaur tribal districts.

The elders alleged that residents of tribal districts were unlawfully deprived of their natural forests worth billions of rupees and fertile agricultural lands along with official control on all the natural resources including precious minerals and oil reserves by the provincial government after merger of tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against the will of majority of the tribesmen.

The FQJ leaders reiterated their unequivocal demand for immediate reversal of the 25th Amendment and asked the federal and provincial governments to give the tribesmen all their legal and constitutional rights, which included their centuries-old right of ownership over natural resources and forests.

Meanwhile, elected councillors and tribal elders in Jamrud held a protest demonstration at the local grid station against what they called prolonged power loadshedding and provision of illegal electricity connections to local stone crushing units and steel mills.

They said that the residents of Jamrud donated their lands for establishment of a grid station on the condition that they would be provided with full electricity but the grid station staff unlawfully ‘sold out’ their share of electricity to the local stone crushing units.

They threatened to block the main Peshawar-Torkham Highway for an indefinite period if the duration of power loadshedding was not curtailed immediately.

A similar protest demonstration was also held in Landi Kotal by the elected councillors, who also demanded reduction of power loadshedding in the region, especially during Eidul Azha.

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2022

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