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PESHAWAR: Caretaker Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Former Justice Syed Arshad Hussain Shah here Saturday termed the fast-track development of newly merged tribal districts as the topmost priority of his government.

He said that despite financial issues, the caretaker provincial government is not only committed to bringing the newly merged areas at par with other developed parts of the province but also taking practical measures to this effect.

“The government will go all-out to complete ongoing developmental projects and other public welfare activities in the merged areas within the stipulated timelines”, he said and added that the war against terrorism had badly affected the tribal belt further exacerbating their decades-long deprivations; therefore, those people needed special attention for their development and redressal of their deprivations.

He said that a complaint cell would soon be established at Chief Minister’s House to monitor the public services delivery as well as receive public complaints about the provincial government’s departments and institutions; immediate action would be taken to redress the public grievances and negligent officials would be held accountable. Any negligence and inefficiency in the official duty especially in public service delivery will not be tolerated at any cost.

These views, he expressed while addressing the 20th Annual Scholarships and Awards Distribution Ceremony organized by the WANA Welfare Association here at the Institute of Management Sciences, Peshawar on Saturday.

He paid rich tribute to the welfare activities of the association especially its efforts in promoting education in WANA and other parts of merged districts and said that undoubtedly, serving humanity was a noble deed, and how WANA Welfare Association has undertaken the welfare of the vulnerable segments of the society at its own expense, was truly admirable.

The Chief Minister said that the provincial government was also fully committed to the wellbeing of the people of merged districts, and was working practically for this purpose. He made it clear that the provincial government was going to launch the “Khushal Khyber Pakhtunkhwa” programme very soon, under which special attention would be given to the merged districts.

Similarly, under the provincial government’s Human Resource Export Strategy, the youth of the province especially those of merged areas would be imparted with IT-based courses as per the demands of the modern market to enable them to have better job opportunities abroad.

Our ultimate goal was to empower the youth economically as well as enable them to play their role as responsible citizens in the national development and prosperity, he remarked.

On this occasion, the Chief Minister expressed his commitment to take pragmatic steps to deal with the situation arising due to the lowering of the underground water table in WANA, saying that he would personally visit WANA to review the situation. He directed the concerned government authorities to immediately start the survey to determine the water issues in WANA so that practical steps could be initiated without any delay.

On this occasion, the chief minister also appealed to the tribal people and social organizations to play their role in the anti-polio campaign in their respective areas. He regretted that unfortunately, some elements were trying to use polio as a tool against the government. He made it clear that polio eradication was our collective responsibility; we do not want any of our children to be forced to live a disabled life due to anyone’s stubbornness or negligence.

Local religious scholars, Maliks, social welfare organizations and all other intellectuals should take polio eradication as a mission, and play a proactive role in this purpose. The Chief Minister, on the occasion, announced Rs. 5 million for the WANA Welfare Association and hoped that the association would continue its public welfare activities in a better manner.

Earlier, the chief minister distributed prizes and testimonial certificates amongst students who completed their studies in various educational institutions with the financial support of the WANA Welfare Association. He congratulated the position-holder students and hoped that they would continue to hard work and contribute to the development of the country.

Chief Secretary Nadeem Aslam Chaudhry, Secretary Education Moatasim Billah Shah and President WANA Welfare Association Rahmatullah Wazir also addressed the ceremony.


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