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PESHAWAR: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday reiterated that the government is fully committed towards development of newly-merged tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The PM linked the development of tribal areas with stability in Afghanistan while praying for the Afghan peace process to conclude smoothly.

"Our vision is same as of Riyasat-e-Madina. The old, sick and unemployed were the responsibility of state in Riyasat-e-Madina," the PM said while speaking at a ceremony held after inauguration of Nahaqi Tunnel and Sheikh Zayed Road in Mohamnd Agency.

PM Imran Khan said that it is the responsibility of state to uplift weaker sections of society. He further stated that the provinces had promised to give three percent of its National Finance Commission (NFC) share to tribal areas but except KP no other province fulfilled its promise.

"Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had a vote bank from Central Punjab and they ignored Southern Punjab. Same happened in Sindh as the party elected from interior side of the province and ignored Karachi completely," PM Imran said.

"Peace in Afghanistan is crucial in maintaining stability in tribal areas. If talks between Taliban and Afghan government go smoothly, there will be a massive change in tribal areas due to resumption of trade.

"We will try to set up an industrial zone here from where goods can be transported to Central Asia. This area is rich with olives. We can export that and earn more," he said.

The PM was in Khyber Pakhtunkahw on daylong visit where he held key meetings with Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Shah Farman, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and members of the provincial cabinet.

Commenting on ongoing Afghan peace dialogue, Prime Minister Imran said the Afghan border was being fenced to stop smuggling through the frontier. He said the government was also establishing border markets for the people to provide employment opportunities through trade.

The PM also performed the groundbreaking of Timargarh-Khar-Mamad-Gat Road in Bajaur.

Speaking on the occasion, PM Imran said no politician knew the tribal areas better than him.

He said it was important to merge the areas with KP because it would facilitate trade and movement of people.

The PM said KP would be the first province that provided health insurance to all its residents. "I praised CM Mehmood Khan and his cabinet who took the decision. Complete health insurance is not available in most foreign countries as well, including America. This is a very big step." The PM thanked the United Arab Emirates for sponsoring the construction of the road in Bajaur.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020