PESHAWAR: President Mamnoon Hussain said on Saturday the government was committed to the social and economic uplift of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) as it was fully cognizant of the issues being faced by the tribal people.
Addressing a grand Jirga, attended by a large number of tribal elders and notables here at the Governor House, the President recalled the great sacrifices offered by the tribal people for the country.
“The tribal people always stood for the country’s solidarity and development and their devotion has always been exemplary,” he added.
The President said he had instructed the authorities of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL) to devise a complete programme for provision of natural gas to the tribal agencies and the Frontier Regions with the collaboration of FATA Secretariat so that this basic utility could be supplied to these areas at the earliest.
He said he had also instructed the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) to establish well-equipped schools throughout the tribal agencies to impart quality education to the children. In the first instance, he said, these schools would be set up in Khyber, Bajaur and Kurram agencies and directed the FATA Secretariat to allocate suitable land immediately.
The President also announced upgrading of the Boys Degree College Landi Kotal and hinted that soon Jamrud Degree College would also be upgraded.
Announcing other incentives for the FATA people, he said 10 students hailing from the tribal belt would be given scholarships to diligently pursue their studies in federal universities.
To provide health facilities to the tribesmen, he announced establishment of a general hospital. He also directed the OPF to train 300 young tribal people so that they could benefit from the overseas job opportunities.
President Mamnoon, to the loud appreciation of huge gathering of tribesmen, said he had also directed the Finance Division to provide Rs 100 million each for Shuhada (martyrs) and the internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Moreover, the Finance Division and other departments had been asked to immediately sanction 350 vacancies for FATA in the first phase, he added.
He said a FATA Cell had been established at the Aiwan-i-Sadr to coordinate among all the relevant departments and resolve the issues being faced by the tribesmen.
Referring to the issue of polio virus threat, the President said today they had gathered to join hands in fight against the crippling disease through a well-devised strategy to save the future of their generations.
“It is unfortunate that Pakistan is still being framed in the list of those countries where the polio virus has been posing a real threat to the future generations,” he said and added that the presence of the deadly virus in the country, especially in FATA, was a matter of grave concern.
The President regretted that out of total 85 polio cases in the country, 60 were in FATA which required that they would have to wage a collective fight against the disease.
He said polio was not an incurable disease and it could be overcome through joint efforts and effective mass awareness drives.
“The religious scholars throughout the Muslim world have justified the administration of polio drops being in line with the religious teachings. The scholars in Pakistan also support the campaign, so it is the responsibility of all to make this drive a success,” he stressed.
The President expressed his optimism that today’s Jirga would be a step in that direction and all the tribesmen would fully support the polio drive.
He said Pakistan was the greatest gift of Allah Almighty and it was the responsibility of everyone to contribute to its progress and prosperity.
He asked the tribesmen to manifest such spirit of patriotism which was shown by them during the movement for Pakistan’s independence.
He also lauded the working of present government and said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his team were fully capable to deliver and the people would soon feel a change in their lives.
The President also administered polio drops to children. The Jirga was also addressed by KP Governor Engineer Shaukatullah Khan, Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Abdul Qadir Baloch and Advisor to the Prime Minister Amir Muqam and a number of tribal elders.
On the occasion, the President was offered a traditional turban by a tribal elder.
Later, the President also held a meeting with the FATA parliamentarians and discussed the issues being confronted by the FATA people and assured government’s all out support for their social and economic uplift through a network of projects.
He also urged them to play their pro-active role in the polio drive by motivating their local populace to get their children vaccinated against polio.