Journey from Bullets to Ballots — Tribal Pakhtuns the real defenders of Western Borders
After the merger of tribal areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the people of these areas actively participated in Provincial assembly election for sixteen seats. This is a great move towards bringing these pakhtuns in main stream at provincial and national level. Long ques outside the polling stations proved that these tribesmen and women have interest and passion to join hands for the development of these areas under the new changes after merger.
The people of these areas were badly affected by terrorist activities and during different military operations people left their homes, lands and businesses and lived in camps for the sake of good future of their coming generations. And now time has come to give them return of their sacrifices.
Army helped these Pakhtuns in rehabilitation and arranged all facilities and after the completion of all army operations, Army developed these areas and then arranged to settled them back in their homes. All credit goes to Pak Army as they made these tribal areas safe and secure for the real citizens of these areas. This change will again make our Western border safe and secure forever.
Now peaceful commencement of provincial election and the turnover of male and female voters is really a good sign which proved that people at grass root level are willing to be part of main stream. These tribal suffered a lot in last 20 years. They lost their businesses, they lost their beloved ones and after all these losses they availed this opportunity and again proved that they real Pakistanis.
In past, these tribesmen defended Pakistani territories from invaders and anti-state groups. Our Western border was one of the most peaceful border at that time. During cold war era, with international interference and anti-Pakistan agencies trapped our innocent tribal youth and misused them for their agenda. However, now our agencies have successfully clean up these areas and now securing western border with proper razor wire boundary walls.
Their local leadership and new representatives in provincial and national assembly should have to play vital role in bringing development funds from federal and provincial governments, donor agencies and other relevant organizations
We should also learn lesson from our past and need to avoid those reasons which were cause of that destruction. We should closely monitor and discourage those state actors who approached the youth of that area and misused them.
Now, this democratic activity in these tribal areas will also develop more interest to interact in healthy and positive activities. Results of these elections does not matter, the democratic activity and turnover is important which show the interest of these people including male and female voters. Now this is responsibility of federal and provincial departments, private, national and international organizations and academia to facilitate and provide them maximum opportunities so that we can bring them into main stream. Provide them higher education facilities in and out of their areas at national and international level. They should be offered scholarships for their higher education as well.
Their local leadership and new representatives in provincial and national assembly should have to play vital role in bringing development funds from federal and provincial governments, donor agencies and other relevant organizations.
A new development phase will start after provincial assembly elections. New development projects are responsibility of relevant provincial and federal departments but the sustainability of these projects will be very important. For that purpose, we need to sensitize and mobilize local communities so that they can take the ownership of new projects for smooth and successful completion.
This is responsibility of all relevant stakeholders to facilitate and provide full support to these tribal districts at all level so that they can feel the difference of this change positively. The youth of these areas will be very important for next few years so government should focus on them and arrange to engage them in positive and healthy activities.
Academia can also play very important role. University and college student exchange programs and study tours can provide an opportunity to these students to learn and get more guidance. This activity will give them inspiration to play an important role at provincial and national level.
In these areas, new colleges and universities are in progress so there will be a huge vacuum of capacity. So government and private sector should also come forward to provide skill development services to teachers. This sector is very important that will provide educated young generation from these areas in next couple of years.
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The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.