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PESHAWAR, Oct 17: The leadership of Pakistan People’s Party-Sherpao has formally renamed the party as Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) and changed its tri-colour flag, inviting all Pakhtun nationalists to join hands for restoration of peace in the militancy-stricken region.

Following a daylong workers’ convention at his Hayatabad residence here on Wednesday, QWP chairman Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao said that joint struggle for restoration of peace in the region was top priority of his party as development without peace was impossible.

Other priorities, cited by him, included struggle for development of the militancy-hit areas, reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure, improvement of socio-economic conditions of people, provision of educational and health facilities and creating job opportunities.

The problems being faced by Pakhtuns, Mr Sherpao said, were so complicated that a single party could not solve them. It was need of the hour to unite all Pakhtuns with a clear agenda to raise voice for rights of the oppressed people irrespective of their affiliation with North and South Pakhtunkhwa or Karachi, he added.

He said that people of Fata had been faced with numerous problems owing to the prolonged military operations. He said that about 0.8 million people were forced to vacate their localities and became internally displaced persons. The government should take effective steps for their rehabilitation, he added.

The QWP chief said that Pakhtuns in Karachi were also confronted with problems as their lives and properties were insecure and they were unable to earn livelihood owing to target killing. He said that his party would raise voice for their rights.

Similarly, he said, QWP would show solidarity with the Pakhtuns living on the other side of Durand Line. He said that contacts would be established with them through exchange of delegations so that all Pakhtuns could jointly raise voice for their rights and live peaceful life in the region.

Mr Sherpao said that his party would also focus on the rights of overseas Pakhtuns. All the residents of the province would be dealt as Pakhtuns by raising voice for their rights, he said. The issue pertaining to provincial autonomy would include priorities of the party, he added.

The QWP chairman said that they would seek political solution to the issue of terrorism. “We have devised a comprehensive plan for restoration of peace and development of militancy-hit areas. The plan can be implemented through a political government,” he said.

Mr Sherpao said that federal government and international community should announce a reasonable package for development of the region and rehabilitation of infrastructure.

He said his party would try to achieve due share for Pakhtuns in the policy making departments and institutions of federal government. He said that QWP would work for recognition of Pashto language as national language. Expressing concern over the pathetic condition of the war victims, he said that his party would establish a trust to support the needy, paralysed and deserving people.

Earlier, QWP central general secretary Anisazeb Tairkheli, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa president MPA Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao, provincial general secretary Bakht Baidar Khan, Punjab president Zafar Awan, Sindh president Abdul Qayum, Advocate Saleem Khan, Jamil Marghaz and Fazl Rehman Nono asked workers to start preparations for the next general elections.

They said that the new name, flag and party manifesto had been decided after thorough discussions and consultations with workers at all levels. “The people believe that QWP is real nationalist party to bring positive change in the fate of poor Pakhtuns,” they said.

They also expressed concern over the poor law and order situation and attack on Malala Yousufzai, saying government’s claims about restoration of peace proved false.