About time tribal people’s wounds are healed


–PML-N’s Khawaja Asif calls for avoiding use of force in tribal areas, forming parliamentary body to probe issues of erstwhile FATA

–PTI’s Murad Saeed blames past govts for failing to develop erstwhile FATA

–Asif accuses govt of ‘trapping’ NAB chairman to ‘save its own people’


ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Monday demanded the formation of a parliamentary committee to probe the issues of the residents of erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), while stressing that use of force should be avoided and a political solution be sought to address the grievances of the tribal districts.

Addressing a session of the National Assembly, PML-N MNA Khawaja Asif urged the lawmakers to play their due role in politically resolving the grievances of residents of the tribal areas.

On Sunday, activists of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) and Pakistan Army personnel clashed at a North Waziristan check post, leading to three people being killed and 15, including five soldiers, being injured.

“It is a difficult task and we will face obstacles because we have exploited the area for the past three decades and Sunday’s incident happened because of our continuous exploitation of that area,” he said. “Two MNAs have been named in the incident. One of them has been arrested while the other is said to be on the run,” he added.

“Our security forces have rendered immense sacrifices for our peace and safety and they should not be attacked but it is also important to realise that the faultline must be dealt with politically instead of force,” he said.

He said that until the area is brought into the political mainstream, the elements across the border will exploit the situation. “Wherever differences lie, wherever faultlines exist, our enemy will exploit them,” he warned.

He said that KP and particularly the erstwhile FATA region was the front line region in the war against terrorism during the last three to four decades. “We destroyed the culture and identity of FATA for our proxy wars,” he regretted, adding that if the faultlines are not corrected, Pakistan’s sovereignty would be jeopardised and there are examples from the past which prove this.

He further said that Pakistan’s history of 72 years is tragic. “We have committed mistakes in the past and the mistakes in East Pakistan caused the annexation of Bengal and the unrest in Balochistan which continued on and off for many years,” he added.

He also said that it is the responsibility of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chief minister to talk about these issues. He added that Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, who was the chief executive of the province for the last five years, should proactively talk about it and the Interior Ministry should also speak about it.

The former defence minister said that the people of the tribal areas should be brought into the political mainstream and the prime minister should have spoken about Sunday’s incident as well.

Asif also highlighted that the earlier in May, the National Assembly (NA) passed the 26th Amendment presented by the same Mohsin Dawar who is being accused of attacking the military check post.

He said that it was the first instance where a private bill was converted into the amendment. “The amendment is yet to be passed by the Senate because some forces are in action to prevent it from being passed. It will be our defeat if those forces, through manoeuvring, prevent it from being passed by the Senate,” he added.

Earlier, while speaking about the controversy caused by some leaked audio and video clips involving National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal, the former defence minister demanded the constitution of a parliamentary committee to probe the incident.

He also questioned the government’s role in “trapping” the NAB chairman to “save its own people”. He said that most of the people facing NAB cases are in the opposition and pointed out that references against members of treasury benches are also pending.

Speaking on the floor of the house, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA Murad Saeed blamed the previous governments for failing to develop the tribal areas. At this the opposition staged a walkout but Murad continued speaking.

Speaking about the Sunday incident, he said that the sit-in in North Waziristan’s Doga Macha Madakhel area had entered its third day when it was agreed that a person from Waziristan would be released. An MNA called the protesters and pushed them to attack the checkpost, and people were martyred, he added.

Lashing out at the opposition, he said that PML-N took credit of army operations against terrorism. Former premier Nawaz Sharif used to boast about Operation Zarb-e-Azb like he fought on the frontlines with a gun,” he added.

He also said question that when the army operation in Waziristan in 2009 was wrapped up, who was in power. “Army restored peace in tribal areas, why did you not restore life in the region?” he asked.

Saeed recalled that Prime Minister Imran Khan had always vocally opposed drone strikes that were carried out by the United States in the tribal regions and claimed that Dawar had supported the attacks.

“After the APS massacre, we came to the House and tabled a resolution to fence the Afghan border. Dawar and Mahmood Khan Achakzai opposed it,” Saeed said.

He further said that PTM was formed after Naqebullah Mehsood was killed. “Whose good boy was Rao Anwar?” he asked.

Saeed said that when the Pashtun population was being attacked, he stood up to highlight their woes unlike MNAs Dawar and Ali Wazir. “Rana Sanaullah had told The Guardian that army operations will be carried out in every area where Pashtuns reside. It was I who protested against his comments,” he said.

Speaker Asad Qaiser directed the government to pacify the opposition and adjourning the session until Tuesday.