PESHAWAR: The government and the armed forces on Tuesday initiated the process of transferring of powers from the military to the civil administration in Malakand division. The process was initiated in Upper Dir and Lower Dir districts in a simple but impressive ceremony.
Almost all administrative powers in Malakand had fallen into the hands of the armed forces with the commencement of military operation ‘Rah-e-Rast’ against militants in April 2009.
The ceremony was held in Timergara, headquarters of Lower Dir. On the occasion, General Officer Commanding (GOC) Major General Ali Amir Awan handed over almost all administrative powers to Malakand Commissioner Zaheerul Islam.
Other civil officers, including Deputy Inspector General Police Akhtar Hayat, deputy commissioners and district police officers from both parts of Dir also attended the ceremony.
Besides Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Minister for Finance Muzzafar Said, MNA Sahibzada Tariq Ullah and a number of local government representatives were also present.
Speaking on the occasion, Major General Ali Awan said, “In accordance with the army chief’s assurance and KP Apex Committee meeting held in October 2017, the administrative and civil powers are being transferred to the civil administration.”
He added that after Dir, similar steps would soon be taken in Swat and other districts of Malakand division.
After the transfer of administrative powers to the civilian setup, military police and personnel of the armed forces would be replaced by policemen on all check posts. Whereas, unnecessary army check posts would be withdrawn, the GOC said, while adding, “The armed forces are determined to continue their whole-hearted support and cooperation to the civil administration for maintaining law and order and keeping away terrorists from this region.”
Reports from KP’s Hangu district revealed that only two out of around one dozen security check posts have been left operational on important roads while the rest were withdrawn. Similarly, the armed forces have already handed over control of security check posts on main Swabi-Charsadda motorway to the police.
In the wake of demands made by Pakhtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), a youth movement fighting for the rights of Pakhtuns, the armed forces have started the process of handing over check posts to the civil administration throughout Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the adjoining Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
PTM also held a successful rally in Peshawar on Sunday and reiterated their demand to hand over administrative control of peaceful areas to the civil administration. The movement would hold its next public gathering in Swat on April 29.