LAHORE - Rehmat Shah Afridi, Editor, The Frontier Post, has alleged that political agents are misinforming the Army about the situation in their respective areas because of their vested interests.
In an interview with TheNation on Sunday, he said that the political agents were appointed by the relevant authorities against heavy amounts which they recover through corrupt practices while in office.
These agents are not trusted by people and the Army should not rely on the information provided by them, he said.
According to him, tribal people are like the Army of the country and the government should talk to them directly, not through the political agents. He demanded that the government look into the assets of all the political agents appointed during the past 10 years.
Their foreign accounts and the investments they made in Afghanistan should also be scrutinised, he said. Afridi alleged that the billions of rupees the FATA Secretariat claims to have spent in their areas were not seen on ground as the situation there was as bad as ever. The United States, Afridi said, had its own plans about the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
“They want to occupy these areas”, said the senior journalist. To translate its plans into reality, Afridi said, the US was trying to buy loyalties of the influential families.
Factories were being set up with the US money on both sides of the Durand Line which would be handed over to families that could “deliver”,he added. The production of these factories would also be purchased by the US, he said. He strongly supported the military action in North Waziristan Agency.
In his opinion preconditions set by various leaders that talks should be held in Islamabad with the Taliban with a VVIP protocol to them despite the fact that they did not accept Pakistan’s Constitution were insulting for the Army and other security agencies, he stated.
Replying to a question, he said that Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who is on his way out after completing two consecutive terms, used to receive 4,000 a month from a Pakistani intelligence agency about three decades ago when he lived in Quetta. Another Rs 30,000 a month were paid to him for his family, he recalled. Afridi said he himself gave him a car plus a million rupees in 1982-83 to enable him to live comfortably.
He regretted that after being elected as President of Afghanistan,Karzai had forgotten all the favours Pakistan had done to him at a difficult time of his life. He alleged three prominent TV anchors, two of them Pakhtuns, were trying to portray Karzai as the biggest nationalist leader in the country. Afridi said these ‘journalists’ had been bribed by the deputy chief of the Afghan intelligence agency – NDS.
Criticising these journalists, he said, they were not supposed to hold meetings with the NDS. He believed that with the election of Ashraf Ghani as new President relations between Afghanistan and President would improve in the days ahead. Now anti-Pakistan propaganda from Afghanistan would come to an end, he said.
He proposed that Pakistan should meet with the new Afghan leadership at the earliest. The senior journalist said he did not believe the US would leave the resources-rich Afghanistan by the end of 2014, as being claimed at present. They would not go back even till 2044 as they have spent about $370 billion on this country, he said. Answering a question about the presence of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, Afridi said now they should not be allowed to even for a single day as they have already destroyed this country economically. These people, he said, have taken over various businesses, reducing the locals to minority. A large number of people have been rendered jobless because the Afghan refugees have monopolised various sectors, he said.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 70 per cent business is being controlled by Afghans, he said.
In his assessment, the Afghans have investment worth Rs 200 billion in Islamabad alone.
In Hyatabad, Peshawar, the Afghans are in a majority, he said. Underlining the need for sending the Afghan refugees back to their country, Afridi said the law and order situation would remain out of control as long as the ‘(unwanted) guests’ for the past three decades lived in Pakistan. “They are involved in subversive activities”, he stated.