PTI-sponsored tribal peace jirga opposes new military ‘offensive’

Published June 27, 2024
Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai speaks at Qabail Amn Jirga convened by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in Peshawar on Wednesday. — White Star
Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai speaks at Qabail Amn Jirga convened by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in Peshawar on Wednesday. — White Star

PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-sponsored “tribal peace jirga” on Wednesday vehemently opposed the government’s plans to launch a military offensive against terrorists and insisted that the Operation Azm-i-Istehkam was a bid to occupy minerals in the Pakhtun belt.

Chief of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party Mehmood Khan Achakzai, who also heads a coalition of six opposition parties under the banner of Tehreek Tahafuz Ayeen-i-Pakistan (TTAP), was the chief guest at the event, where PTI central leader and former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser, lawmakers from tribal districts, and tribal elders were in attendance.

The participants unanimously passed a resolution against the Operation Azm-i-Istehkam, saying if the government intends to carry out such an operation, then the matter should be brought to parliament and the provincial assembly for a thorough discussion for the people’s information.

They said the government should listen to all stakeholders and take tribal elders into confidence before the start of the counter-terrorism operation.

Says matter should be brought to parliament, PA for thorough discussion

In the resolution, the jirga also demanded government steps to remove hurdles to the country’s trade with Afghanistan and reopen trade routes with Afghanistan.

It said authorities should listen to the participants of sit-ins in KP and Balochistan and take steps for the immediate resumption of trade with Afghanistan.

The jirga demanded the immediate fulfillment of all promises made by the government to the tribal people before the merger of their region with KP and said all those who had suffered a lot in the war on terrorism should be properly compensated.

“This jirga condemns the ongoing illegal and unconstitutional measures and violation of human rights in the country. Also, all political prisoners, including PTI founder Imran Khan, should be released forthwith and all cases registered against them should be withdrawn,” it said in the resolution.

The jirga urged the government to “accept the right of Pakhtuns to resources in their areas and protect it in the Constitution.”

It also said all commitments made by authorities with tribal people before the merger of their region with KP, including the award of Rs1 trillion and three per cent share in the NFC Award for their development for 10 years after merger, should be fulfilled.

The jirga demanded the formulation of an “economic corridor policy for Pak-Afghan border and facilitation of bilateral business by the Federal Board of Revenue.”

Mr Achakzai told participants that parliament had lost its utility as members were forced to lie on the floor of the house.

“Parliamentarians are not allowed to speak truth in the house. Today, the mic of JUI-F leader Maulana Fazl Rehman was muted when he started speaking the truth,” he said.

The PkMAP leader said the almighty Allah had ordered people to speak the truth, the establishment was forcing parliamentarians not to do so.

“The reality is that the PTI has won the last general elections in all provinces by a clear majority, but their public mandate was stolen,” he said.

Mr Achakzai said authorities shouldn’t force the opposition parties into approaching the International Court of Justice for demanding justice.

He insisted that the tribal region was merged by force against the consent of residents.

The PkMAP chief alleged that military operations were carried out to occupy resources in the Pakhtun belt.

“We want to live in this country as its shareholders and not slaves,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2024

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