Pledges to establish cold storage at Toya Khula after produce grounded at Pak-Afghan border
WANA: After more than a decade, tribal elders of Wana, South Waziristan had the opportunity to directly address their issues to top-level administrative officers.
The meeting between tribal elders and administrative officials was organised by Political Agent (PA) Zafarul Islam at Jirga Hall in Wana. Local intellectuals, ulema, and retired officers from civil, military and paramilitary services also participated. Malik Meerat Khan, Malik Wazir Khan, Malik Haji Gul Bahram, Nawaz Khan, Malik Aala Khan, Abdul Ghaffar, Abbass Khan, Musa Momin, Malik Jamil Khan, Azeem Khan, Mohammad Khan, Ajmal Wazir and Malik Saidullah were some of the prominent elders present at the session.
Tribal elders highlighted the dilapidated conditions of roads, absence of teachers in government schools, and lack of doctors and staff in hospitals. In addition, unemployment concerns and closure of the Pak-Afghan border at Angoor Ada came under hectic debate due to its impact on the local economy.
Local infrastructure, economy
Tribal elders belonging to Ahmadzai Wazir, Suleman Khel and Dotani tribes reported almost all schools in their areas have been shut for the past decade. The few schools that are still functioning do not have teachers. The elders suggested re-opening of all closed schools and hiring locally educated youths for services. This would encourage tribespeople to resettle in their native villages, it was stated.
Industry in Wana mostly consists of farming, transportation and local businesses all of which have suffered a great deal since the sealing of the border.
Elders said almost all trade and business involving transport of fresh fruits and vegetables with Afghanistan is on halt. They said a large number of vehicles loaded with food items such as flour, rice, pulses, and sugar have been stranded at different check posts.
Malik Mohammad Khan Kakakhel said, “Hundreds of vacancies exist in khasadar and levies forces; the government should take steps to hire locals.”
Responding to demands and problems raised by tribal elders, PA Islam announced the establishment of a cold storage, on emergency grounds, with an estimated cost of Rs2 million at Toya Khula. He also assured the elders of designing a procedure to recruit local youth in traditional khasadar forces, and of resolving outstanding civic issues, especially the provision of clean drinking water.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2015.