Thursday, May 5, 2011

MNA laments govt indifference to plight of people

Our correspondent
Thursday, May 05, 2011

Chairman of the National Assembly's Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions, Sajid Hussain Toori, on Tuesday said he would continue boycott of the National Assembly unless and until the Thal-Parachinar Road, the only link between Taliban-infested Kurram Agency and rest of Pakistan, was made safe.

During a news conference here at the National Press Club, the legislator from Parachinar lamented that the government was totally indifferent to the plight of over 0.5 million people under siege for the last four years and the blockade of the region was a proof of it. He called for the army deployment in the agency.

Toori is the only lawmaker from the parliamentarians belonging to the seven tribal agencies, who has been strongly raising his voice for the militant-infested Parachinar but hardly any other out of 342-member House pressed the government for paying attention to the aggravating human misery.

"The Kurram Agency's population faces shortage of basic needs of daily life and medicines in addition to increasing sense of insecurity. I just wonder, why other parliamentarians, who claim to be public representatives but they have no sympathy for us," the legislator lamented.

He pointed out for about two weeks several people from Parachinar who work or study in Rawalpindi and Islamabad had encamped outside the Press Club but baring an MQM delegation, no minister or MNA visited them to show solidarity with them.

Toori alleged that government did not fulfill its promises regarding resolving problems in Parachinar, most of which had stemmed from the militants' terror activities. The Parachinar legislator said he had met president and prime minister over 40 times separately and was held out assurances but unfortunately no tangible action was ordered so far to improve the increasing worrying situation in the agency.

He warned that the issue could ultimately lead to the downfall of the present set-up, if the rulers continued with their indifference to the plight of people in Kurram Agency. He added with the passage of time more and more people would take to streets against the blockade of the region.

The reason for this, he contended, was the people were living in grip of fear and economic hardships had ruined their routine life and even students could not continue their studies, as majority of the educational institutions were also in tatters due to no uplift or development for the last four years.

He squarely held the government responsible for the long-continuing siege, as apart from other peace initiatives, a landmark Murree accord was signed among the stakeholders in 2008, but the government showed no interest in its implementation and the militants blatantly started violating it.

"Several innocent men, women and children have been killed, many kidnapped and no one knows about their fate, but the state has not intervened in the explosive situation," he regretted.

He recalled that on February 03, 2011 Interior Minister Rehman Malik during a news conference assured to make foolproof security arrangements on and around Thal-Parachinar road. After this the road was reopened and people of Kurram Agency lauded this development.

But unfortunately, people came to know late that despite these assurances, they had been left on their own fate and in the process, Taliban butchered men, women and children, mutilating their bodies and no one dared to challenge them from the security agencies.

Toori called for the release of 33 persons, who were in the clutches of Taliban since March 25 and also set up army check posts on Thal-Parachinar road to make it safe and secure.

He demanded implementation of the Murree Accord and that stern action should be taken against violators. Toori appealed for restoration of PIA service between Peshawar and Parachinar and also launch a C-130 service on emergency basis.


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