Address Tribal people grievances

OVER three hundred traders from North Waziristan were protesting outside National Press Club Islamabad over the last few days but abysmally no government representative came to listen and address their grievances. This attitude on part of government officials indeed amounts to rubbing salt to the wounds of tribal people who have suffered immensely as a result of anti-terrorism operations that led to their mass displacement and destruction of their houses, shops etc. Anyway it is a matter of satisfaction that tribal traders called off their strike following Pakistan Army’s Spokesperson Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor talks with them and assurances that they will be compensated for shops and businesses destroyed during operation Zarb-i-Azb.
Indeed Pakistan Army has not only carried out successful operations against terrorists in the tribal areas as a result of which peace stands restored there but it is also engaged in the rehabilitation and reconstruction activities there. The army is building roads, bridges, schools, mosques, basic health units and water supply schemes. This is the reason that the tribal people greatly regard the personnel of Pakistan Army and most recently one saw the tribal people standing shoulder to shoulder with the troops when they came under attack from the Afghan side in Kurram Agency. Time has come that civilian government should realise its responsibility towards FATA mainstreaming as per commitment made to them under the FATA reforms package. As a first step, a law has been enacted extending the jurisdiction of Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court to the tribal areas, yet lot more needs to be done to addresses economic woes of the people. Any lethargy or negligence will only provide space and room to inimical forces to once again foment uncertainty and unrest and that if happened will have disastrous consequences for the whole country. Already a movement in the name of PTM has been started to exploit, provoke the sentiments of innocent tribal people. One fully understands as to who could be behind such a movement, but the fact of the matter is why an excuse was provided for this movement that now is conducting rallies and gatherings in other cities as well. We strongly urge government and all political parties to fulfil the promises made with the tribal people discarding any political expediency. Besides reconstruction work, investments need to be made in vital sectors to help create economic opportunities for the tribal people so that they could stand on their own feet and earn their livelihoods. Though current government is left with little time now yet next civilian government must prioritise the merger of tribal areas with KP so that the people there do not feel left alone or isolated. Entire country salutes the sacrifices of tribal people and addressing their genuine grievances is the only way forward to reciprocate their great sacrifices.

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