Shakir Khan

MIRANSHAH: The people of North Waziristan tribal district on Friday staged a protest demonstration against stoppage of work on construction of a road in Speen Wam area of Mir Ali tehsil.

Participants of the protest blocked the main Bannu-Miranshah road for all kinds of traffic due to which commuters and transporters faced difficulties. Outside the Miranshah Press Club, the protesters also danced on drumbeats which is a traditional tribal method of protest.

The protesters said talks with the civil administration have failed to produce any positive result so far. They said they have only one demand and that is resumption of construction work on the road in Speen Wam.

Malik Liaquat Ali Khan, who was leading the protest, said work on the important road project has been stopped over differences among contractors. He said the local population of Hasankhel, Madakhel and Torikhel tribes is facing difficulties due to stoppage of work on the important project.

Malik Zar Wali Khan, another tribal elder, said the government should take strict action against those who are hindering development projects. He said the district administration must issue orders of immediate resumption of work on Speen Wam to Dandi Katch road.

The protesters said they will stage a sit-in at Pak-Afghan Highway if their demands remained unfulfilled. They said the sit-in will continue till the demands are accepted.

Later the protesters ended protest after talks with a district administration team led by Additional Deputy Commissioner Daulat Khan.

A dispute recently surfaced in North Waziristan after an angry mob allegedly stopped work on a road project forcibly as the contract has been awarded to a non-local contractor.

A video went viral on social media few days ago in which it could be seen that angry mob attacked a road construction site in Speen Wam area of North Waziristan and damaged equipment and also scuffled with workers there. The tent of contractor was also set on fire.

The contractor, Saud, alleged that some influential people wanted to mint money from him and after his refusal, they incited the local people against him who damaged his equipment and also stopped work on road construction. The contractor said he has obtained this contract legally through e-bidding, and if anyone has objection over it then he is free to adopt legal course.

The local contractors are of the view that they had the right on local contracts which has been awarded to an outsider. They have demanded end to political interference in development projects.