Swatis to protest change in Malakand status

MINGORA: The Swat Qaumi Action Committee has threatened to launch a protest campaign if the government tries to change the tribal status of Malakand division.Abdur Rahim, the coordinator of the committee, told a press conference here on Wednesday that the remaining industrial units would be closed with the abolishment of tribal status of Malakand division. “Unemployment will increase owing to imposition of taxes,” he added.
He was flanked by other members of the committee including Fazlur Rehman Nono of PPP-S, Qavi Khan of PML-N, Hazrat Yusuf of PML-Q, Maulana Hajatullah of JUI-F, Khurshed Iqbal of JI, Iqbal Hussain Bali of PPP, Haji Sardar Ali of PTI and leaders of transport and trade unions.

“The members of the assemblies have no morale justification to suggest abolishment of present constitutional status of Malakand as these elected representatives have left the locals alone in critical times of militancy and floods,” he said.Mr Rahim claimed that provincial government and lawmakers had sent summary of proposed amendments to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor to change the status of Malakand. “But four million people of Malakand division are against the move and the rulers will have to tread on their bodies if the decision is not reversed,” he said.He said that people of Malakand suffered a lot owing to militancy, military operation and floods. “They are no more able to bear further miseries. We don`t believe in violence but if pushed to the wall then we will have no other option but to take arms,” he threatened.Mr Rahim said that people of other districts of Malakand division would be contacted to devise a joint strategy in this respect. “Following the abolition of princely states in 1970, Malakand was divided into districts under which the areas were regarded as tax-free zones with no custom duties – Dawn