PESHAWAR - The newly sworn in Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan said on Tuesday that his topmost priority was to restore peace in FATA.

“The bloodshed started some 30 years back must be stopped now. Over 50,000 people have so far been killed, besides losing more than $100 billion economically,” he said this soon after taking oath of his office at the Governor House.

Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court Mr. Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel administered the oath to Sardar Mehtab. Besides others, Chief Minister Parvez Khattak, Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf, Advisor to Prime Minister Engineer Amir Muqam, Corps Commander Peshawar Lt. Gen. Khalid Rabbani, Chief Secretary KP Amjad Ali Khan, provincial ministers, members of the parliament, senior government officials, political leadership of various parties, tribal elders, ulama, elite of the city also attended the oath taking ceremony. “In last 65 years, unfortunately, no attention has been given to the affairs of tribal areas. FATA is our back wall. We will have to strengthen it.

Weakening FATA means to weaken Pakistan,” he said, adding that rehabilitation of terror-hit tribal people would be his topmost priority. He said that certain solid steps would be taken to bring FATA into the mainstream, saying immediate steps would be taken for the development and progress in tribal belt.

“In this part of the world, FATA has too much importance. It is a gateway to Afghanistan, Central Asia and even to Europe,” Sardar Mehtab, said this who took oath as 38th governor of militancy-hit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Meanwhile, talking to the media, Maulana Samiul Haq, chief of the TTP peace negotiation committee, who also attended the ceremony, expressed his hope that peace would be restored through peace talks. All the issues, he said would be resolved.

He said that in last 45 days, not a single bullet was fired from Taliban’s side. He said that a new round of dialogues process would be commenced in the next couple of days.

About infighting between Taliban groups, he said that differences existed within the Taliban ranks but these have now bee resolved. “It is the media, which glorify issue too much,” he added.

He said that the TTP Shura was serious in restoring peace in the country. Maulana Samiul Haq said that Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sardar Mehtab was a seasoned politician who would help bring peace to the province. He said that talks between government and Taliban were going in the right direction and hoped that peace would be restored.