Protesters demand restoration of Batera as headquarters of Kolai Palas

CJ Tariq Aziz

KOHISTAN: The people of Kolai, Madakhel Abad and Batera areas of Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have refused to accept Palas as new headquarters of Kolai Palas, Kohistan.

Kohistan was bifurcated into three districts by the previous provincial government, but the issue of its headquarters remains unresolved.

The people of the said areas on Sunday staged a massive protest demonstration in Bisham over the issue. The protesters said the former provincial government of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had named Batera as headquarters for Kolai Palas, Kohistan, but the existing provincial government of the same party has now named Palas as headquarters in place of Batera. A notification in this regard has also been issued by the provincial government.

The protesters rejected the provincial government’s notification and said it is not acceptable to them at any cost. They demanded the government to take back its new notification and retain Batera as headquarters of Kolai Palas, Kohistan. They threatened to widen their protest if their demands were not accepted. They said they will block the Silk Route for all kinds of traffic in the whole Kohistan region as part of their protest movement.

A protester said while talking to this reporter that they will not budge an inch from their demand. He said the provincial government will be responsible if any untoward incident happened during the protests. He alleged that Chief Minister Mehmood Khan was not doing enough to avoid clash between two tribes and stakeholders on the issue.

Kohistan has been bifurcated into three districts including Upper Kohistan, Lower Kohistan and Kolai Palas, Kohistan. During the previous government of the PTI in KP which Pervaiz Khattak was chief minister, the notification of bifurcation was issued under which Batera was declared headquarters of Kolai Palas, Kohistan. However, when Mehmood Khan became the chief minister, the provincial government took back the earlier notification and named Palas as headquarters of Kolai Palas, which enraged the local residents. The locals are now demanding the porcini government to restore the old notification in which Batera was named headquarters of Kolai Palas, and take back the new notification.