PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Mines and Minerals Dr Amjad Ali has issued a clarification regarding statements published in various newspapers regarding declaring all the ex-Fata mines and minerals government property.

The Minister stated that the amendment in KP Mineral Sector Governance act is aimed at giving benefits to the local tribesmen by securing their priority rights in the grant of mineral titles, who own and possess the land where the mineral resources exist.

He said that the leases will be granted to locals, on the consent of the locals. Dr Amjad Ali said that there is no such provision in the amendment act wherein the rights of the local tribesmen have been jeopardized rather the same is protected by ensuring their priority rights.

He mentioned that in the amendment act, a proper mechanism for dispute resolution has been developed to amicably settle the dispute between the local and miners. The minister added that the amendment act will promote mining activities in the merged districts which will boost socio-economic development therein.

On the other hand, during the approval of the bill in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly, the opposition strongly protested and tore down bills copies in front of the speaker desk. The Speaker has to adjourn the meeting indefinitely in view of the opposition’s protests.

Opposition party members protested in the House, declaring the Minerals Bill an effort to distribute the resources of the tribal districts to their own people. The ANP’s parliamentary leader Sardar Hussain Babak said that not a single member of the Assembly has been taken into confidence or given the information regarding the Minerals Bill, The government bulldozes the assembly process by making the majority of its legislation.

He said that the government is happy to open Kartarpur corridor but on the other hand, the paths have been closed for the devotees of Ahmed Shah Baba and Khushal Khan Baba.

Bilal Afridi, the elected member of the tribal districts, strongly opposed the bill and said that the elected representatives from the tribal districts were not taken into confidence in the preparation of the bills. He strongly opposed the bill.

Mohammad Shafiq Afridi said that the in the past, locals were not provided mines lease, which resulted in the tribal youth becoming unemployed, which is why the government has prepared a Minerals Sector Governance Amendment Bill so that the tribal youth can get employment opportunities. He added that the bill should be approved without delay, on which members of the opposition parties went out of their way and started protesting strongly against the bill.