BATKHELA: The leaders of different political parties pledged to resist any bid of sabotaging peace in Malakand division.

Addressing a jirga, held here with Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq in the chair, they demanded of the government to exempt Malakand from taxes for the next 80 years.

They said that government should approve a special development package for Malakand division on the pattern of former tribal areas. They threatened to launch a protest movement if their demands were not accepted.

Leaders pledge to resist any bid of sabotaging peace

PPP provincial president Najamuddin Khan, ANP provincial general secretary Sardar Hussain Babak, PML-N provincial senior vice president Easal Khan, JUI-F provincial council member Haji Ahmedzada, former governor Shaukat Hayat Khan, JUI district emir Maulana Javed, former speaker of provincial assembly Bakht Jahan Khan, former MNA Malik Azmat, PTI tehsil chairman Afzal Hussain, QWP’s Haji Naik Mohammad, former provincial minister Shahraz Khan, Inayatullah, hoteliers, journalists, lawyers, contractors, traders and local government and civil society representatives attended the jirga.

They discussed prevailing law and order in Malakand division and proposed imposition of taxes in the region from next year. A joint declaration was issued at the end of the jirga.

Announcing the declaration, Sirajul Haq said that no one would be allowed to sabotage peace in the division. He said that Malakand should be declared a tax-free zone for the next 80 years.

He said that Forest Ordinance, 2022, should be amended to include the rights of owners. He said that a road from Chakdra to Gilgit via Chitral should be included in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

He said that the departments of forests and minerals should create employment opportunities for the business community. He asked the authorities to end power load-shedding in Malakand division.

The jirga made it clear that all the political parties would start a protest movement if the demands were not met by the government.

Sirajul Haq said that they would wage struggle by forming a committee consisting of the incumbent and former lawmakers from Malakand to get rights for the division. He said that Chief Minister Mahmood Khan also belonged to Malakand division so he should also join the movement and support the legitimate demands of the people of region.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2022

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