South Waziristan elders to register strong protest against CM visit

Rehmat Mehsud

Islamabad: A number of tribal elders including former Senator expressed serious reservations following the visit of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan to South Waziristan tribal district when only elders of Makin, a small town in the district, were invited while rest of elders were left uninvited to attend the gathering.

Most of the tribal elders from South Waziristan complained that there were two lists of invitees; one of the lists was prepared by the district administration while another one was prepared by the local military.

“The names of entire Mehsud elders including my and Member National Assembly (MNA) were not included in the list prepared by the military and it was sheer inability of the district administration for not coordinating with the military,” former Senator Saleh Shah said.

He said that he was though asked by the authorities to attend but he left as a protest that names of entire elders including that of MNA were not included, which is against established rules.

“This is a deliberate attempt by the incompetent district administration to create division among local tribes on behest of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) government. These kinds of attempt to bypass local Mehsud tribal elders have been made twice in the past. We will work out a strategy after holding a grand Jirga,” Shah observed.

On Tuesday, KP chief minister along with Peshawar Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Shaheen Mazhar Mehmood during their visit to South Waziristan visited different places including Makin area, an agricultural park in Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan, and Sholam Model Hospital.

The chief minister was briefed about the park, who reviewed the facilities being provided at the hospital. The chief minister said practical measures were being taken to establish a medical college in Wana.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan is taking keen interest in progress of tribal areas. An era of prosperity and development is going to usher in those districts recently merged with KP,” he told tribal elders.

Special attention, he reiterated was being paid to health and education sectors. The infrastructure of durable services, rule of law and justice would be established in the new districts.

He also said that small dams would be built in Waziristan.

Talking to journalists, former Senator Saleh Shah recalled that when Prime Minister Imran Khan was visiting the adjacent North Waziristan, the deputy commission of South Waziristan told the elders to reach Miran Shah, the headquarters of North Waziristan, to attend the Jirga of prime minister.

“We told the deputy commissioner of South Waziristan that it is against the established rules that elders from other tribal district visit another area to attend a specific event but the deputy commissioner was insisting and we attended the prime minister event in larger interests of the area,” he recalled.

He said that again the deputy commissioner of South Waziristan repeated the same mistake as he intentionally excluded the names of some leading tribal elders from the list to attend the chief minister’s address to elders in Makin, a town in South Waziristan tribal district.

“This is nothing but a clear violation of our rights and a deliberate attempt to divide the local tribes,” he complained.

The elders are planning to convene a grand Jirga of tribal elders to work out a future strategy to mobilize masses against the dual policy of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) government and deputy commissioner of South Waziristan tribal district.

“Our elders have serious reservations when they are left uninvited because we are son of the soil but not being consulted on issues pertaining to our area. Our elders will offer stout resistance against this,” a tribal elder warned.

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