BAJAUR/MOHMAND  -   Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that Pakistan will not lower its guard until general elections in India, expressing his fear the BJP government could go for another military adventure for winning more votes.

Addressing a big public meeting in Bajaur district, he said Pakistan was a peace loving country and wanted to live in peace with all its neighbours.

Instead of war and tensions with neighbouring states, Pakistan was interested in investment, collective prosperity and job creation

for its own people and that of the region, Khan said.

However, he made it clear that “our desire for peace must not be misunderstood as our weakness” as Pakistan was capable of giving a befitting response to any aggressor.

Premier Khan said “we have repeatedly asked India for talks to resolve the Kashmir dispute but a political party in India is promoting hatred due to elections there”.

He said Pakistan has to remain particularly on alert for the 30 days before the elections in India, the hostile neighbour which last month violated Pakistan’s airspace and continued committing ceasefire violations at the border in Kashmir.

The prime minister lauded the role of Pakistan Air Force in defence of the motherland and asked the people to remain vigilant about the enemy moves.

The PAF earned laurels when in response to India’s air aggression it demonstrated its capabilities by carrying out warning strikes near Indian military installations in the Occupied Kashmir, beside shooting down two enemy planes minutes later.

Pakistan kept expressing its intentions for maintaining peace in the region since the Pulwama attack that sparked the recent tensions. Islamabad also took no time in returning a captured Indian pilot.

Thanks to intervention of some friendly countries, the situation has apparently pacified for now and the two nuclear neighbours on Thursday held talks to open Kartarpur Corridor to facilitate Sikh pilgrims on the two sides of the border.

Prime Minister Imran khan was accompanied by KP Governor Shah Farman, Chief Minister Mehmood Khan and a number of federal and provincial minister during his first-ever visit to Bajaur district.

 

Strict security arrangements were made for the public meeting at the Bajaur Sports Complex in Khar area. Hundreds of Levies, FC and army personnel were deployed around the avenue.

The prime minister in his speech said he was aware of the problems of the people of tribal districts and the government was making all out efforts to ensure all possible facilities for them. He said the people of tribal areas were the most peaceful, civilised and loyal, and they had rendered great sacrifices for the country.

Premier Khan announced several development projects for Bajaur district on the occasion. Those included a university, a small industrial zone, Barng tunnel, free-interest loans, a 132 Kv grid station, provision of solar energy to 300 mosques and Insaf Health Cards.

He also announced to restore mobile internet service and reopening of Pak-Afghan route for business activities in the region immediately. In another major development, he announced merger of Levies and Khasdar force into the police department.

The PM said the tribal districts witnessed huge destruction during the war on terrorism as business centres and other infrastructure was badly affected. However, he said, the people never lost heart and faced all the hurdles for the bright future of their young generations.

Imran Khan said the previous governments had totally ignored the tribal districts and they did almost nothing for their welfare.

The prime minister said the merger of tribal districts with KP was a wonderful and historical development which would start a new era of prosperity. He said the merger has been delayed because it was not an easy thing to do, and the full completion of this process would take more time.

Imran Khan said the federal government was making all out efforts to get the 3 percent share in National Finance Commission Award (NFC) to the tribal districts immediately. KP and Punjab - where PTI was in power - have already agreed to give this much share to them, he said, and urged the Sindh and Balochistan governments to also fulfil their commitments on it.

He said the federal and provincial governments were committed to bringing visible changes in the lives of the people of tribal areas by launching development schemes, but lack of resources and current finical crisis was causing hurdles.

The premier however said he believes that the future of tribal districts was very bright and the day was very near when those would be the most developed and prosperous areas of Pakistan.

 

 

MOHMAND VISIT

 

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan also visited Mohmand district and addressed a jirga at Ghalanai, the district headquarters.

He was briefed on the administrative reforms and security situation of newly merged areas. The meeting was also attended by KP governor, chief minister and several federal and provincial ministers. Crops Commander Peshawar Lt-Gen Mazhar Shaheen, IGFC and many other military officials were also present.

The PM told the jirga that tribal customs and norms would not be changed under the new legal and administrative systems, while his government will create jobs for the people of merged districts.

“With due consultation and consent of the locals, Mohmand Dam will be constructed soon which will bring a real change in the lives of the people,” said Khan. He said that Sehat Cards will also be provided to the deserving people of the area.

PM Imran Khan said that the federal government was trying best to develop tourism in the newly merged districts and for this purpose a number of sites have already been selected.

 

Journalists’ protest

The local journalists were not invited to the meeting and not even allowed to enter their own Press Club in Ghalanai. In reaction, the Mohmand Press Club staged a protest by blocking the main Peshawar-Bajaur road for some time.

They chanted slogans against the district administration and the Levies officials for their alleged misbehaviour. Later, on the intervention and assurance of tehsildar Tehseen Ullah and Khassadr officials, the protesting journalists dispersed peacefully.