‘Opening of Pak-Afghan trade routes to benefit merged districts’

PARACHINAR: Speakers at a conference called for opening up Pak-Afghan trade routes to help generate business and employment opportunities in the newly-merged tribal districts.

This will not only engage the people of the militancy-hit area but will also help in improving bilateral relations between the two neighbouring countries, they said at the roundtable conference organised by the Parachinar Press Club here.

The event titled ‘Integration of Fata into KP, fears and expectations’ debated the developments that followed the 25th Constitutional Amendment in the post-merger scenario.

Speaking on the occasion, MNA Sajid Turi said if the Borki-Kharlachi and Tari-Mangal trade routes were opened up, this might create a lot of business opportunities for the people of the area. The volume of bilateral trade may go up to Rs100 billion annually, he added.ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

Counting the government’s achievements, Senator Sajjad Hussain Turi said that government’s Sehat Insaf Card, Rozgar scheme and induction of Levies and Khasadar forces into the regular police force were some of the glaring examples of the government’s commitment and seriousness towards mainstreaming the newly-merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Terming the merger a welcome move, former senator Iqbal Said Mian said the 25th Constitutional Amendment marked a new era of progress and development in the militancy-hit tribal districts. The 10-year socioeconomic development plan will change destiny of the region and put it on track to progress and prosperity.

Pro Jamil Kazmi called for early rehabilitation of the IDPs, reconstruction of the damaged infrastructure and a decent compensation to the war victims.

On the occasion, the speakers urged the government for holding early elections to the provincial assembly and local bodies in the newly merged districts to include people in the political process and give them their due say in the decision making process.

The participants said the area had great potential for tourism. They said Maike, Zyaran, Shalozan had a lot of tourist attractions. This could be a great source of revenue generation if the government pays due attention to its development.

They said people were still unaware of what the reforms process might bring to their table and called for a greater role of media in that regard.

They asked for creating awareness among the masses through print, electronic, and especially social media.

The participants said Kurram tribal district had a history of sectarian conflicts rooted in local disputes over water, land, forests. They called for early land settlement in the area.

They warned that a failure in implementing the reform process at the earliest might prove fatal to the achievements secured at the battlefronts.

The event was attended by parliamentarians, political, social and human rights activists, legal experts, educationalists, health professionals, policy experts, and members of the civil society, students and youth organisations beside a large number of mediapersons.

Published in Dawn, April 29th, 2019

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