WASHINGTON, May 3 : By devolving power to provinces, the PPP-led democratic government has strengthened the federation of Pakistan and invigorated the national sense of participation among people, a provincial minister from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said.
“We are grateful to President Zardari for giving us the name of our province, according to the wishes of the Pakhtuns” he said, in an interaction with Pakistani journalists and intellectuals in Springfield, Virginia.
The devolution of power to provinces has particularly reinforced confidence among people in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, Sindh, and Balochistan that they can use their potential and resources for their own economic uplift and development of their provinces.
On the ongoing struggle against militancy, he said, the Awami National Party is determined to fight the extremist mindset and convince the misguided elements that the alternative life holds out great promise for them.
However, Babak said, in view of the peculiar history of the federally administered tribal areas of Pakistan since 1979 – which became a staging ground for militants when the U.S.-led international community armed, trained and aided the fighters to battle Soviet occupation of Afghanistan – the world owes economic cooperation to the people in the area in realizing better development opportunities for themselves.
The Minister related how the provincial government defied Fazal Ullah and his militant followers to clear the Malakand division of their presence and managed to do the unthinkable task of repatriation of 2.3 million displaced people of Swat after the military operation.
He said the warlords and hardened militants, who were brought from around the world into tribal areas to fight the Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan and the use of religion to recruit fighters, played havoc with the local culture.
Babak said the overwhelming majority of Pakhtuns is peace-loving and wants to progress in life.
The ANP, he said, has offered tremendous sacrifices in the fight against terrorism as it lost more than 500 activists and followers for safety and security of the people of the province and the country.
Babak said the ANP government has restored 1600 closed schools in the province and will work towards mainstreaming education in the ‘Madaris.’
Regarding the use of controversial U.S. drone strikes against suspected militant targets in tribal areas, he said, the ANP believes that the such operations are counterproductive as they contribute to spreading militancy.
- Militants Destroy School in NW Pakistan (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- Tribute to journalists killed in line of duty (dawn.com)
- Pakistan polio vaccination project among award winners (dawn.com)