Political Agent North Waziristan Agency Kamran Afridi in an Exclusive Interview with The Pashtun Times
“There is no doubt that any place where minerals are unearthed becomes the property of the state”
The Pashtun Times’ team has conducted an exclusive interview with the Political Agent of North Waziristan Agency Kamran Ahmad Afridi about the rehabilitation of the IDPs. Kamran Afridi is serving his duty as a Political Agent in NWA since August 2015. North Waziristan is under military operation since last year. People from the mentioned area are living their lives in tents in the nearby regions. The IDPs intensely demand the Pakistani officials to settle them back in their home areas in North Waziristan. Military operation called ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ was launched last year in North Waziristan Agency against the terrorists. With the launching of the operation, more than a million people of the North Waziristan flew abruptly to the adjacent district of Bannu and became IDPs. A month after beginning of the operation, ISPR claimed that 90% area of the region was cleared off the terrorists but till date the problem of rehabilitation of the IDPs is pending. Markets, homes and villages in NWA have been made flat with the ground, and people are out of businesses and kids out of schools. Now the people of North Waziristan strongly demand that they should be rehabilitated in their villages. Here we have discussed the matters with the Political Agent of North Waziristan Kamran Afridi.
QUESTION: The Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has stated that the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of North Waziristan would return in the next phase to their villages by June 2016. Do you think it is possible for such a huge number of people to return their houses in such a short time?
Political Agent NWA Kamran Afridi: God-willing, the people sitting here, such as Pak army and political administration, feel strong for IDPs and would take all possible steps to rehabilitate all the IDPs of North Waziristan.
QUESTION: What is the program of the state for such a speedy rehabilitation of the displaced people in the matter of seven so months?
Political Agent NWA Kamran Afridi: Just as governor has mentioned in his statement, the orders have been given to speed up the process of the IDPs return to their villages. How we would speed it up, what methods would be applied, how the phases would be reduced, and other such questions would be addressed later.
QUESTION: The markets in Miran Shah and Mir Ali have been razed to the ground. Is there any government plans to raise those markets again? And whether the political administration and military are on one page in re-building the bazaars?
Political Agent NWA Kamran Afridi: Army and political administration agree that only those works would be carried out that lie in the best interest of people. We have constituted a Jirga committee whose work it would be to prove the ownership of the people who claimed that they had shops in Mir Ali and Miran Shah. The army and political administration want to construct markets on the basis of modern planning, such that the markets would include ideal bus stands, roads, streets, modern drainage system and parks as well.
QUESTION: North Waziristan is said to be rich in mineral wealth and the government says that it would exploit these resources. Is there any probability that North Waziristan would have some industry at some point in future?
Political Agent NWA Kamran Afridi: There is no doubt that it is very useful for the people of North Waziristan to have an industry. I think this industrial state should not be taken some other where from North Waziristan. FATA secretariat has also constituted a committee to look into that matter. There is no doubt that any place where minerals are unearthed becomes the property of the state, but the people of that place should benefit from the funds, royalty, jobs and developmental works in association with the mineral resources that the state would exploit.
QUESTION: Just as we know that minerals are not like some cash crop which could be grown over and again. The minerals could be extracted from earth just once and never again. Even if the State offers some royalty for a specific period, still it could not be enough to alleviate poverty in North Waziristan. Is there also an alternative planning for some mega project that could be initiated in North Waziristan so that the poverty-stricken people could have some benefits from their mineral wealth for a little longer time?
Political Agent NWA Kamran Afridi: Our discussion on this issue is going on. We have discussed how we can build the mine and mineral technical educations schools and construct technical colleges so that we can produce skilled labor in North Waziristan.
QUESTION: Whether these minerals would be extracted by the state of Pakistan or Pakistan would acquire the help of some foreign companies such as Chinese companies in the extraction of minerals in North Waziristan?
QUESTION: For a year and half the Jirgas are being held for the return of IDPs to North Waziristan, but we see that so far these Jirgas have little, if any, results. How much do you hope that these Jirgas are result-oriented?
Political Agent NWA Kamran Afridi: We are only for the people. If there are no people there could be no political administration. I am a Political Agent only for people. But if there would be no people, I could not be Political Agent. Therefore, people matter most. My office is all due to people.
QUESTION: Those people in North Waziristan that have so far not been displaced, such as the people of Shawa, Spin Wam, and Razmak, are also not happy with the government; specially they complain of immense trouble that they receive in movement, on the entry points, on check-posts, transportation of goods, foods, and vegetables. To what extent the political administration of North Waziristan has addressed their complaints?
Political Agent NWA Kamran Afridi: The biggest problem, as you would agree with me, happened on Saidgi. We discussed this thoroughly and took steps in this regard, and fortunately much of the Saidgi’s problem has been solved. Initially the Saidgis would take 5, 6 hours to reach Miran Shah, but now because of the Government cards that the people have, Saidgis now take only an hour to reach Miran Shah.
Interviewed by Umar Daraz Wazir, local journalist of North Waziristan Agency. He can be reached at
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