MIRANSHAH: A Grand Jirga of Wazir tribe in North Waziristan tribal district has asked the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government to desist from construction of Kurram-Tangi Dam without taking the tribal elders into confidence.

The Grand Jirga, which was held at Shewa Adda, was attended by elders of Ahmedzai and Utmanzi tribes, Member National Assembly Ali Wazir, MNA from frontier regions Mufti Abdul Shakoor, Member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Shah Mohammad Wazir, Chairman Wazir Grand Jirga Dr Gul Alam Wazir and other elders and youth in large number. Participants of the Grand Jirga were wearing black armbands as mark of protest.

Participants of the Jirga said construction of Kurram-Tangi dam without removing the reservations of Kabalkhel tribe is unacceptable. They said the whole tehsil will come under water after construction of the dam, and the tribe is not prepared for it. They said the government has not made any alternative plan for the 300,000 population of the area.

Lawmakers Ali Wazir and Mufti Abdul Shakoor assured the Jirga that they will stand by Kabalkhel tribe on the issue of the dam. They said they will support Kabalkhel tribe on the issue come what may. Ali Wazir and Mufti Abdul Shakoor also told the Jirga that they will bring a resolution in the National Assembly in which Prime Minister Imran Khan will be asked to scrap the project initiated by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The Jirga members demanded the government to stop work on the dam within one month and take back the construction machinery. They also demanded written assurance from the government about scraping the project.

Kabalkhel tribe has held several Jirgas demanding the government to stop the dam project as they believe that the dam will submerge the whole area.

Last month, Kabalkhel tribesmen also held a Jirga and vowed to resist construction of Kurram-Tangi Dam Phase-II. The Jirga members made it clear that they won’t accept the construction of the dam at the cost of their precious lands. They said the government has not announced compensation package for those who would be affected due to dam construction and announced for some people is also not acceptable to them.

The foundation stone of Kurram-Tangi Dam was laid by Nawaz Sharif in 2017. The dam will have the capacity to generate 83.4 megawatts electricity and would be helpful to irrigate the agricultural lands and protect populated areas from flooding. The dam is being constructed with the financial support of USAID.

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