PESHAWAR, April 8: Tribal elders from Khyber Agency have criticised the government for not helping militancy and floods affected tribesmen and demanded approval of a financial package for them.

Speaking at a press conference at Peshawar Press Club on Friday Khidmat Khalq Committee chairman Haji Sohail Ahmad Afridi said the tribesmen were facing serious financial problems due to the existing disturbed situation and needed immediate government support. He was also flanked by Haji Iqbal Afridi, Asghar Khan Afridi, and Turab Ali Khan Afridi.

He said that like other parts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the tribal region had also suffered a lot but the tribal people were not compensated and on the other hand those in Malakand Division were provided food items, cash and other facilities.

The Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, he said, had announced a package on June 30, 2009 for Fata, Malakand, and rest of militancy hit areas of the province, but the benefit was yet to be passed on to the tribal areas. He said the PM had made another commitment on Feb 3 this year to waive off agricultural loans of people living in the insurgency and militancy affected areas but they were still waiting for the support.

On the other hand, he said the government had waived off loans for Swat, Bunner, Chitral districts and neglected the tribal areas. The prevailing disturbed situation has made the tribesmen psycho cases and they were unable to search sources of income for themselves as they had no money at least to start even a small business. He said hundreds of people had been killed in different localities and their families were faced with many problems.

The elders said beside the drone attacks, the prolonged curfews had made lives of the people miserable who were unable to move freely in their own villages. “The rich tribesmen have taken shelter in makeshift camps of IDPs and getting the support meant for poor people,” they pointed out and added that about 10 different tribes had suffered due to the ongoing war against militancy.

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