KHYBER: Special Assistant to Chief Minister Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif said here on Wednesday that plan for merger of erstwhile tribal areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was not enforced with the speed at which the people of the region had expected.
He was, however, quick to rectify that provincial government was keen to implement the plan in its totality but was faced with some administrative hurdles as well as shortage of funds. He claimed that federal government did not release Rs25 billion, it had pledged for the development of merged districts.
He was addressing a ceremony held at Landi Kotal jirga hall in connection with administration of oath to the cabinet of Landi Kotal Press Club.
“People of tribal areas had expectations about fulfillment of all the promises and pledges made about the implementation of merger plan on a speedy basis but the plan could not be implemented as was desired,” said Mr Saif.
CM’s aide blames federal govt for withholding funds
He said that legal and administrative matters along with procedural issues overshadowed the desired results regarding timely implementation of the merger plan.
Citing examples of the government seriousness about development of the merged districts, he said that capacity building of the tribal police was in progress on a fast track.
He said that steps were being taken to provide speedy justice to people while committees were working to suggest legislation about the needs and requirements of the residents of the merged districts.
Mr Saif said that the provincial government was also working on enacting its own journalists’ protection bill on the pattern of a similar piece of legislation at the federal level.
He said that the bill would guarantee safety of the journalists working in the province. “We have sought suggestions for the bill. Once the suggestions are received and finalised, the bill would be presented in the provincial assembly,” he added.
He said that tribal journalists would be given residential plots on the pattern of their colleagues in major cities once the process of registration of local press clubs was completed.
Regarding the construction of the press club building in Landi Kotal, he said that the matter was already under the consideration of the information department and once the administrative issues were addressed, funds would immediately be allocated for its early construction.
He also administered oath to the cabinet of press club.
Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2022