MANSEHRA: Jamaat-i-Islami leader and former mayoral candidate Zulfiqar Khan has moved the Abbottabad Circuit Bench of the Peshawar High Court seeking royalty of granite mining for Oghi tehsil.

He told reporters on Wednesday that the illegal granite mining had massively damaged roads, and silted Tarbela dam and Inhar Khawar stream, so he petitioned the court for ordering a ban on it.

Mr Khan said the bench accepted his petition and summoned high-ups of the mining and other relevant departments on Dec 6 for response.

He said he sought the court’s orders for the provision of mining royalty to Oghi tehsil.

Resident complains roads damaged, Tarbela Dam silted

The JI leader said the mining department hadn’t awarded mining licences for mountainous and forest lands but leaseholders encroached on them causing large-scale damage to them.

Mr Khan said he had also sought the court’s intervention for an end to illegal mining, which was widespread in Oghi and Darband tehsils.

“If unlawful mining continues, Tarbela dam will be silted up,” he said.

The former also complained that the trucks loaded with minerals damaged main roads of Oghi and Darband inconveniencing motorists and commuters.

He said instead of leasing out mountains and forests, the government should promote tourism to earn money and generate employment opportunities.

VOLUNTEER GROUP: The Hindu, Christian and Muslim communities on Wednesday formed a group of volunteers to promote interfaith harmony and hold their festivities.

“We have been living here for centuries and never considered ourselves to be a religious minority for having complete religious freedoms and other rights enjoyed by Muslims,” Hindu pundit Darshan Lal told a function in the Shiv Linga Temple in Chitti Gatti Gandhian area here.

The event was organised by the Aawaz Forum.

Mr Lal, who led a group of Hindus, said the annual Shivratri festival had been held in the temple for decades with the complete support of local Muslims.

Member of the Hindu community Reema Robin Lal said she studied in Abbottabad’s schools and colleges but was never discriminated against by Muslim colleagues.

Luqman Sher Gill, who headed the Christian delegation, said peace and love were part of both Muslim and Christian faiths and that both communities had been living in the area together for centuries.

Maulana Wasiur Rehman of the district peace committee said Islam ordered its followers to be courteous to non-Muslims and to respect their beliefs.

NGO Saibaan managing director Sahibzada Jawad Alfaizi said he was happy to see people of different faiths gather in a Hindu temple and form a group for interfaith harmony.

Former nazim Nawaz Khan announced that if Christians wanted to build a church, he would earmark part of his ancestral land for it.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2022

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