Pakistan: A week in review

News desk


Pakistan did ‘helpful things’ against Haqqanis: US general

11 March, 2017

For the first time ever, a US general informed a congressional panel that Pakistan had “done things” against the Haqqani network that have been helpful to the war against terror. Gen Joseph Votel, commander of the US Central Command, also told the Senate Armed Services Committee that India’s policy of diplomatically isolating Pakistan was “especially troubling” as it could lead to a nuclear conflict in South Asia. Gen Votel, who is responsible for implementing the US military strategy in the Pak-Afghan region, described Pakistan as a key and critical partner and emphasised the need to stay engaged with Islamabad in the counterterrorism fight. Gen Votel told the Senate panel that he has been encouraged by his meetings with Pakistan’s new army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and by his commitment to the fight against terror.

In his written testimony, Gen Votel also noted that India “even responded militarily to terrorist attacks in India-held territory earlier this year”. Pakistan denies the Indian claim, saying that Indian forces never crossed into Pakistani territory but the US general endorsed the Indian claim.

“We assess that these types of attacks and the potential reactions, increase the likelihood for miscalculation by both countries,” he warned. “Further­­more, India’s public policy to ‘diplomatically isolate’ Pakistan, hinders any prospects for improved relations.”

The general warned that the Indian policy of isolating Pakistan was “especially troubling as a significant conventional conflict between Pakistan and India could escalate into a nuclear exchange, given that both are nuclear powers”.

Gen Votel also told US lawmakers that Pakistan’s increased focus on its eastern border detracts it from its efforts to secure the western border with Afghanistan from incursion by the Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters.

“Security along the western border will nevertheless remain a priority for Islamabad, as the Pakistani military seeks to expand border control and improve paramilitary security,” he added.


Senate slams blasphemous content on social media

11 March, 2017

The Sen­ate unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the blasphemous content circulating on social media and seeking exemplary punishment for those behind it.

The resolution asked the government to act under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code against those uploading the objectionable material on social media. The government was also asked to put in place a regular mechanism to check circulation of such material on social networking sites in the country.

The resolution, moved by Kamil Ali Agha of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, was endorsed by Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq and Leader of the Opposition Aitzaz Ahsan.

The Senate unanimously passed the Senate Secretariat Services Bill to regulate appointments and service structure of the employees of the house.

The chairman said that with this legislation, the Senate had become the first house among parliament and four provincial assemblies to have a law for its employees’ service structure.

The statement of objects and reasons of the bill says: “Article 87 provides that Majlis-i-Shoora (parliament) may by law regulate the recruitment and the conditions of the services of persons appointed to the secretariat staff of either House. Till date the affairs of the Senate of Pakistan are being run under the Senate Secretariat (Recruitment) Rules, 1973, which were formed with the approval of the President under the Article 87. Therefore, the Senate has assumed its constitutional obligation and this bill has been drafted after extensive deliberations.”


Strike across Balochistan cities against ‘racial profiling’

11 March 2017

A strike was observed in Quetta on Friday on the call of the Awami National Party (ANP) against the arrest and torture of Pakhtuns in various cities of Punjab and in Karachi. Shops, markets, shopping plazas and business centres remained closed in main areas of the city. However, on the outskirts of Quetta, business remained as usual. The local authorities had taken strict security measures and deployed a heavy contingent of police and Frontier Corps to avert any untoward incident during the strike.


Progress on NAP: 1,865 terrorists killed, over 5,000 arrested, says report

A National Action Plan (NAP) progress report was presented in the Senate on Friday by Minister of State for Interior Balighur Rehman during question hour. The briefing comes as the military appears to have a renewed focus on NAP with the launch of Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad across the country following a spate of terror attacks. According to details: 98.3 million SIMS were blocked. Biometric Verification System in place for issuance of new SIMS. Strengthening, activation of Nacta,  At least 414 terrorists were executed under the Pakistan Penal Code and the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). 190 cases were transferred to special courts, and 11 courts were notified. 1,865 terrorists killed and 5,611 terrorists were arrested. Countering Terrorism Finance units are being established in the provincial Counter-Terrorism Departments, and the CTF has been made an integral part of investigations under the ATA by the CTDs.


Indian envoy summoned to protest acquittal of Hindu radical over 2007 Ajmer shrine attack

The Indian deputy high commissioner was summoned by the Foreign Office (FO) to express concern over the recent acquittal of Swami Aseemanand in the Ajmer Sharif blast case, said a statement released by the FO. Aseemanand is also accused of masterminding the deadly 2007 Samjhota Express bombing. “Swami Aseemanand had publicly confessed that he was the ‘mastermind’ of Samjhota Express terrorist attack of February 2007.” The Samjhota Express blast, in 2007 had left 68 dead and 100 injured — most of them Pakistanis.


PTI, PML-N MNAs come to blows outside parliament

10 March 2017

The National Assembly witnessed another scuffle between members of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) on Thursday. The untoward incident occurred at the main entrance to the Par­liament House, soon after Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi abruptly adjourned the proceedings. Eyewitnesses and footage of the incident showed PTI MNA Murad Saeed attempting to punch and slap PML-N MNA Mian Javed Latif while the latter was leaving the Parliament House. The two MNAs were earlier seen exchanging harsh words inside the main lobby of parliament, but were prevented from getting physical by other legislators, security personnel and journalists who were present there.

Military courts amendment to be tabled in NA today

10 March 2017

The government claimed that all parliamentary parties had reached a consensus on the question of reviving military courts for a period of two years, but the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) rejected the government’s claim, saying it had agreed to no such thing. According to the agreement reached in a meeting of all parliamentary parties’ heads, chaired by National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, the 23rd constitution amendment bill would be laid before the National Assembly on Friday.

However, in a statement issued after the meeting, the PPP said there was no agreement over the life of the military courts and the appointment of sessions and additional sessions judges. The PPP said it also rejected the government’s draft proposals for the revival of the courts.

It decided that military courts would not receive any further extensions and the government would introduce the long-awaited judicial reforms to improve the judicial system by May 2018.


Army stresses expeditious NAP implementation

10 March 2017

The army’s leadership stressed expeditious implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) to achieve a durable peace in the country.

The emphasis on NAP’s implementation reflected the perception of the commanders, during Corps Commanders Conference, about the challenges in the implementation of Operation Raddul Fasaad (RuF) launched a fortnight ago in the aftermath of the recent wave of terrorism that rocked all four provinces.

The areas of NAP in which the military wanted immediate action were also pointed out, although they were referenced to an understanding reached during last week’s national security meeting at the Prime Minister House.

“COAS informed the participants about discussion during last security conference with government authorities which included phased fencing of Pak-Afghan Border, repatriation of Afghan Refugees, judicial, police and madrassa / educational institutions reforms and restarting execution of death sentences to terrorists awarded by Military Courts,” ISPR said.


Sharif pledges to heal wounds of Sindh

10 March 2017

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that his government will build a ‘new Sindh’ and heal its wounds to enable its residents to take a sigh of relief.

The government would eradicate the sense of deprivation prevailing in the province, he said while addressing a public meeting organised by Pakistan Muslim League-N allies, the Shirazi brothers, at Makli Cricket Stadium.

On the occasion, the prime minister made a number of announcements about initiatives of the federal government for Thatta and Sujawal districts, including the launching of Health Card, construction of a 500-bed hospital in Thatta, a road network in rural areas and provision of gas and electricity to villages.

He said that adoption of protective measures against sea intrusion was the responsibility of the Sindh government but, realising the gravity of the issue, he had issued directives for preparation of a feasibility report on a dyke along the coastline.

He said that the gigantic project would cost huge funds but being head of the government he found it necessary to save fertile agricultural land and infrastructure from being swallowed by the sea.


New accord with Swiss to help detect tax evaders

9 March 2017

Switzer­land has agreed to revise the terms of a 2005 treaty, which will allow both countries to shore up information-sharing mechanisms that will help detect tax evaders who have stashed their assets in Swiss banks.

In policy statements before both houses of parliament, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar revealed that the Swiss government had agreed to revisit its bilateral convention on the avoidance of double taxation and had invited Pakistan to sign a fresh accord.

“We have received a letter from Swiss authorities dated March 2, proposing four dates — March 21, May 5, May 23 and 24 — for signing the convention,” Mr Dar said.

Senate passes govt’s inquiry commission bill with changes

9 March 2017

The Senate passed the government’s commission of inquiry bill with four amendments, one of which makes it mandatory for the government to make the commission’s report public within 30 days of submitting it.

The bill will now return to the National Assembly, and if the amendments are adopted, will become law after receiving the president’s formal assent.

The government and the opposition had presented separate bills in the wake of the Panamagate controversy. While the opposition’s bill, also passed by the Senate, was specific to Panamagate, the bill presented by the government is general in nature and provides for the constitution of commissions of inquiry by the government whenever it is expedient to conduct an inquiry into any definite matter of public importance. The bill will replace the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1956 which will stand repealed.

Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif conceded before the house that the government had exceeded the circular debt’s limit of Rs350 billion, whereas a decision had been taken to cap the power sector’s circular debt.

Referring to reported estimations, he said the figure of Rs440 billion was exaggerated as debt, at the end of the month, had stood at Rs380bn.

He said IPPs will be paid Rs30bn next week to bring the outstanding amount within the permissible limit.


10 militants killed in Swabi

9 March 2017

At least 10 suspected militants were killed in a clash with security personnel in a village near Swabi while an attack on a post on the Afghan border in the Mohmand tribal region was repulsed on Wednesday.

According to Swabi district police chief Muhammad Sohaib, the encounter took place in Baja village near Pehur High Level Canal (PHLC) after militants confronted security personnel during a search operation.



Two Pakistani suspects in Uri attack likely to be freed by India

9 March 2017

India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) has freed two men it suspected of guiding terrorists to an army camp in Uri last year, saying the alleged Pakistanis had run away from home to avoid studies.

The two youths were arrested by the BSF and the army in a joint operation at Angoor Post at Gavalata village in Uri when they were allegedly trying to infiltrate into India. It was not clear how they could have guided terrorists when they could not apparently infiltrate. The two were brought to the NIA headquarters for interrogation.


Two soldiers, five militants killed in Swabi clash

8 March 2017

Five suspected terrorists were killed during an operation conducted by the army in the Malikabad area on Tuesday.


Decision to close Afghan border termed ‘unwise’

8 March 2017

Terming the government’s act of sealing the border with Afghanistan as “unwise and illogical”, members belonging to the opposition as well as the ruling coalition called for revisiting the country’s foreign policy and appointment of a full-time foreign minister.

Taking part in a debate on the “foreign policy of the government” on a motion moved by Shahida Rehmani of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the National Assembly, the opposition members said that closing the border with Afghanistan was not a solution to the menace of terrorism.

Earlier, the lower house of the parliament witnessed introduction of 11 private members’ bills, mostly tabled by women members and related to the protection of child rights and for prevention of child labour.

Participating in the debate, almost all the opposition members criticised the government for not appointing a full-time foreign minister and termed it a major reason for the failure of the country’s foreign policy.


ECP to boycott meetings of electoral reforms body

8 March 2017

The Elec­tion Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to boycott the proceedings of the parliamentary panel on electoral reforms after being accused by a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker of preparing to rig the coming general elections.

Chief Election Commis­sioner retired Justice Sar­dar Muhammad Raza has written a letter to National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq to convey the decision and seek action against the PTI legislators who, in his view, had violated the rules of procedure of the committee and principle of confidentiality, ECP Director Public Relations Altaf Ahmad told Dawn.

ECP Secretary Babar Yaqub Fateh Mohammad and other officials walked out of a meeting of a subcommittee of the parliamentary panel on March 2 after a PTI lawmaker accu­sed the commission of preparing to rig 2018’s general elections while questioning ‘replacement’ of provincial election commissioners.

Senator Shibli Faraz of the PTI, a member of the committee, later submitted a privilege motion against the ECP’s secretary and other officials to the Senate secretariat, saying that the privilege of the committee members had been breached by the walkout.

The secretary brought the matter to the notice of the commission for a decision whether the officials should attend the committee’s meetings in future, which has now decided that they will not.

An official said that the CEC letter stated that top officials of the commission had attended 20 meetings of the main committee led by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and 78 meetings of the sub-committee headed by Law Minister Zahid Hamid.

“We were doing it in good faith in the interest of a meaningful reform in electoral framework. We were not doing it to be insulted, ridiculed, taunted and blamed and that too on the basis of routine procedures,” he said.

He said the PTI’s member of the National Assembly did not know that three provincial election commissioners had retired, warranting their immediate placement.


Imran belittles foreign stars who came to Lahore

8 March 2017

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, who had openly criticised the government’s decision to hold the final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in Lahore, stirred up a fresh controversy with his unflattering remarks about the foreign players who played in Sunday’s final at Gaddafi Stadium.

The remarks came during a sit-down with Supreme Court reporters who had been covering the Panama Papers case. Asked for his thoughts on the PSL final, the former Pakistan captain said: “Only two or three would not have come. Useless players who are not specialists would have obviously come, even for domestic matches if they were paid. It was the big names who were missing.”

However, what riled up sentiments on social and mainstream media was Mr Khan’s use of the slang words phateechar (useless) and relukattay (unskilled), which are generally considered derogatory in the country.

“I don’t even know the names of any of these supposedly foreign players; it seems as if they’ve just been recruited from [here and there],” Mr Khan had said.


PPP proposes one-year term for mly courts

7 March 2017

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) gave its consent to revival of military courts but for one year and proposed that the courts should be presided over by sessions judges.

The main opposition party’ co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari unveiled his party’s nine recommendations on the revival of military courts at a press conference at Zardari House.

On its part, the government showed flexibility over the proposals floated by the PPP and decided to consult opposition parties in two days to finalise the draft of the 23rd constitutional amendment bill, which deals with revival of military courts in the country.

The PPP did not oppose revival of military courts but proposed a one-year term for them, instead of the government’s plan of two years.



Five troops, 15 militants die in border attack

7 March 2017

Five soldiers and at least 15 militants were killed during an attack from across the Afghan border on three security posts at Gora Pari in the Mohmand tribal region in the early hours of Monday morning.

“The terrorists from across the border attempted attack on three Pakistan border posts in Mohmand Agency,” said an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement.

The attack was repulsed “through effective presence, vigilance and response”, it said.


Imran hints at launching campaign against ECP

7 March 2017

Imran Khan dropped strong hints of launching a fresh agitation this year, but against the Election Com­mission of Pakistan (ECP), and not against the government.

“We may take to the streets again, but this time against the ECP because it has failed to bring about reforms in election laws in line with the findings of the Supreme Court’s inquiry commission in the rigging case,” the Tehreek-i-Insaf chief said during a get-together with members of the Supreme Court Press Association at his palatial residence in Banigala.

Naeemul Haq, the PTI’s information secretary, and spokesperson Fawad Chaud­hry were also present.


175,000 blocked CNICs awaiting security agencies’ clearance

7 March 2017

The government disclosed in the Senate that over 300,000 CNICs had been blocked on suspicion, and almost a third of them belonged to foreign nationals.

Sharing these figures for the first time in the Senate, Minister of State for Interior Baleeghur Rahman dispelled the impression that the number of blocked CNICs was in millions. The latest figure was 345,510, he said, adding that 175,000 of these were awaiting verification by intelligence agencies while over 52,000 CNICs were awaiting clearance by Nadra. He said 117,459 CNICs had been seized from foreign nationals.

Nadra has a huge volume of data on Afghan nationals who had applied for proof of registration (POR), Mr Rahman explained while pointing out that the CNICs had been blocked after the computer system identified the holders’ resemblance through facial recognition or thumbprint records. He said no one was allowed to block a person’s CNIC on their own whim.


Passion for cricket conquers fear

6 March 2017

Extraordinary security measures because of a surge in militant violence last month did not stop thousands of cricket-starved fans from flocking to the 25,000-capcity Gaddafi Stadium to watch the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final between Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators on Sunday.

“Even if we have to pass through a dozen security checkpoints we won’t mind,” said Mohammad Afzal, a smiling 25-year-old Peshawar fan.

“It’s not a matter of who wins or loses tonight, it’s a big day for Pakistan as we wanted to show the world we can host international matches too,” said 18-year-old student Iftikhar Ahmed, who arrived at the venue hours before the game was due to start.

PSL chairman Najam Sethi, who also heads the Pakistan Cricket Board’s executive committee, said he looked at the PSL final as the opening for Pakistan to bring back international cricket.

Security officials from the cricket boards of Australia, Sri Lanka, Eng­land and Bangladesh, as well as the International Cri­cket Council were also present at the stadium to see security measures for themselves.


Peshawar outplay Quetta to lift PSL trophy

6 March 2017

An economical spell by left-arm orthodox Muhammad Asghar and a quick-fire knock of 40 by Kamran Akmal inspired Peshawar Zalmi to clinch the Pakistan Super League title. They crushed a hapless Quetta Gladiators in a one-sided final by 58 runs before a packed to capacity crowd at the Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday night.

Set to chase a gettable target of 149 in 20 overs, the Gladiators never looked like achieving it after crashing to 37-5. They were eventually all out for a paltry 90 in 16.3 overs to suffer a big defeat.

The absence of four foreign cricketers — Kevin Pietersen, Riley Rossouw, Tymal Mills and Luke Wright — over security fears, reduced the Gladiators to a mediocre outfit.

German bank questions claim of power sector turnaround

6 March 2017

A German state-owned development bank has questioned the power ministry’s claim of tur­ning around the power sector through efficient generation and effective control, terming it “politically influenced”.

In a policy paper released here, the KFW acknowledged that Pakistan’s power generation had improved in recent years, but asserted that it came from three new power plants initiated before the current government came to power in 2013.

Conversely, the bank said, three major public sector power plants — Muzaffargarh, Jamshoro and Guddu — cumulatively underperformed over the past three years and produced fewer electricity units last year, compared with 2010 and 2013.

The bank said the power ministry’s recent announcement that “with a 25 per cent increase in power generation since 2013, we have touched 16 billion units annual generation in 2016, thanks to efficient fuel consumption regime and effective controls” had attracted its (KFW’s) attention.

The KFW said it had special interest in promoting system efficiency and, therefore, decided to analyse such high efficiency gains in a short period based on all figures taken from Power System Statistics 2015-16, 41st Edition Planning Power of NTDC — a subordinate company of the power ministry.

The German bank said that “achieving generation efficiency as high as 25pc is applauding indeed” as the public sector generation increased by 3,243GWh (gigawatt hours) to 16,103GWh in 2016, compared to 12,860GWh in 2013. But the question is: “Was this growth entirely due to efficient fuel consumption regime?”

The KFW said the number of government-owned thermal power stations was 10 in 2013. In 2014, three new units were added to the thermal power station (TPS) Guddu, and TPS Nandipur came on line. This addition does not qualify as efficient fuel consumption regime. “In 2013 and 2016, all these stations have been burning natural gas as a primary fuel,” the bank said.

In contrast, it added, a significant declining trend was seen in the amount of power generated by these three big plants since 2010.

All these stations have been rehabilitated under a USAID programme in recent years and yet produced significantly fewer units in 2016 than in 2010.

The research paper said the TPS Guddu (1,655MW — Pakistan’s largest thermal power station) had been generating fewer units since 2010 or even in 2012. In fact, it generated even fewer units in 2016 than in 2015. “This station simply cannot be presented as an icon of performance,” it said, adding that the TPS Guddu produced more than 7,000GWh in 2010, which declined to 5,000GWh in 2013. It produced about 3,500GWh in 2016.

On the other hand, the TPS Muzaffargarh (1,350MW) could generate over 5,000GWh in 2014, but fell off the bar in 2015 only to surface a little above the bar again in 2016. Still its generation remains far below the benchmark year of 2010.

According to the German bank, the TPS Jamshoro (850MW) showed a bit of success in 2014, a dip below that line in 2015, and struggling again to reach up to a 4,000GWh mark. The plant had shown an increase of only 675GWh (rather than 3,243GWh) since 2013, which could possibly be attributed to “efficient fuel consumption regime and effective controls”, it said.

These numbers put “a question mark on the ministry’s claim that after years of mismanagement and losses by the government-owned thermal power generation companies, we have now entered an era of performance and delivery”.


Balochistan PA calls for reopening of Afghan border

5 March 2017

The Balo­chis­tan Assembly on Saturday adopted two resolutions unanimously, demanding reopening of the Pak-Afghan border at Chaman and Torkham and a halt to massive arrest of Pakhtun people in Punjab and Sindh.

The assembly held a debate on two adjournment motions on the arrest of Pakhtuns in different cities of Punjab and Sindh, moved by Deputy Opposition Leader Zamarak Khan Piralizai and Syed Liaquat Ali Agha of the Pakh­tunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP).


Stronger Pak-Iran defence ties to serve regional peace: Bajwa

5 March 2017

Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said that stronger Pak-Iran defence ties would serve regional peace and stability.

Talking to Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost, the army chief said: “Enhanced Pak-Iran military-to-military cooperation will have positive impact on regional peace and stability.”

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, the two discussed issues related to regional security and matters of mutual interest during the meeting.

“Pakistan Army greatly values historical relationship between the two brotherly countries which can never be compromised at any cost,” Gen Bajwa assured the envoy.

Pakistan and Iran have minimal defence ties because of deep-rooted mistrust resulting from their divergent alignment in regional and international politics. The relationship has been further complicated by the presence of groups on the Pakistani side of the border that carry out terrorist activities on the Iranian side. The two neighbours have struggled to come up with a mechanism to effectively deal with the issue.


Case for Indian spy’s prosecution being prepared

4 March 2017

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has said the government is preparing a case against Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav for his prosecution, dismissing the possibility of him being handed over to India.

“The FIR (first information report) is ready and we are preparing for his prosecution,” the adviser said in the Senate while responding to a question asked by Senator Sehar Kamran of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) during the question hour on Friday.

“This is a very delicate and sensitive issue and req­uires detailed preparation and homework,” he added.

The PPP senator had asked the adviser to inform the house about the steps the government had so far taken in the case of Jadhav.

Kulbhushan Jadhav, a serving Indian navy officer and an alleged operative of the country’s intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), had been caught by security forces in March last year. His capture was flaunted by the military as “a proof of Indian interference and state-sponsored terrorism”.

In his recorded confessional statement, Jadhav accepted that he had been assigned by RAW to foment unrest in Balochistan and Karachi and had been working with Baloch student organisations and insurgents and terrorist groups for the purpose.

Mr Aziz said the government had shared with the United Nations secretary general a dossier on the Indian involvement in subversive and terrorist activities inside Pakistan, which also contained details about Jadhav and his activities.


India to attend Indus Waters Commission meeting in Pakistan

4 March 2017

India has agreed to participate in an annual meeting of the permanent Indus Waters Commission scheduled to be held in Pakistan this month.

The meeting could not be held in September last year as India had reportedly suspended talks in the wake of a terrorist attack in Uri in held Kashmir.

Delegations from both countries, led by their commissioners for Indus waters, will attend the meeting.


Mainstreaming of Fata to begin after legislation: PM

4 March 2017

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the process for bringing Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) into the national mainstream would be initiated soon after a proper legislation.

Mr Sharif, who performed the groundbreaking of the Kurram Tangi dam in the North Waziristan Agency of Fata, was addressing a ceremony on the occasion.

He said development of Fata was the government’s priority and it would get its due share in the National Finance Com­mission award. The centre and all provinces would fulfil their responsibilities for the development of the tribal areas, he added.

He said the Kurram Tangi dam project was an important milestone in the development of Fata.

Mr Sharif said it was high time for all to shun political rivalries and focus their energy on eliminating poverty and illiteracy from the country.