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General consensus: Multiparty meet opposes Swat carve-up proposal

An All Parties Conference (APC) held in Mingora on Tuesday urged the Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf (PT) led Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government to desist from its plan of dividing the Swat district into two administrative upper and lower districts.

Convened by the District Development and Advisory Council (DDAC) chairman and MPA Fazal Hakeem, the APC was attended by the local leadership of all mainstream political parties. Swat district nazim, Swat Traders Federation president, Swat Bar Council president and large number of Local Government (LG) representatives also took part in the meeting.

Addressing the participants, Swat Nazim Muhammad Ali Shah said: “It is an irrelevant issue raised by the K-P government to divide the Swat district into further two-districts. The K-P government should invest on upgrading road infrastructure, education and health sector.”

He also lashed out at the provincial government for decreasing the development fund to the LG representatives by 50% and said the district had already suffered a lot due to a cut of 50 % on developmental fund to the district government by the K-P government.

Local leadership of all the mainstream political and religious parties also turned down the idea of splitting the Swat into two districts.

“Division of Swat into two districts is not a solution to the growing problems which the people of Swat are facing,” said JUI-F’s Ishaq Zahid. “People need facilities at grass-roots level but both the federal and provincial governments are unwilling to do this.”

The Awami National Party’s Khawaja Muhammad Khan, Jamaat-e-Islami’s Muhammad Amin and the Pakistan People Party’s Shamsher Ali used the platform to turn down the proposed plan of dividing the district.

Meanwhile, Sher Bahadur Khan of Qaumi Watan Party and Dr Khalid Mehmood of Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party called upon the K-P government to reach out to the people of Swat and take their opinion before dividing the district.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Fazal Hakeem said: “The CM has asked me to know the opinion of political parties and public of Swat about the division of Swat district.” He said the decision would not be taken hastily and soon a grand Jirga would be arranged to find out the general opinion of the people.

“It seems that majority of the political leadership active in Swat is against the proposed plan,” Hakeem said, adding that the general people was also important and they would be contacted soon in a jirga.

Citation: Khan,Shehzad. General consensus: Multiparty meet opposes Swat carve-up proposal. The Express Tribune, January 4, 2017.

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