PESHAWAR, Oct 4: The political administration of South Waziristan Agency and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf are heading for a showdown as the former insists that the situation in the tribal area is not ripe for a big gathering while the latter seems adamant to go ahead with its planned peace march.
Well-placed sources said that the administration had received orders not to allow the rally to enter South Waziristan. These sources said that the federal government had intimated the authorities concerned to stop participants of the rally ahead of Frontier Region Jandola.
“Entry of the rally in South Waziristan and Jandola is out of question. They will not be allowed even get to Tank city,” said a senior official familiar with the situation. He said that there was a high threat perception for the rally and the administration would not put lives of people at risk.
“This is in the interest of the people to give up rally, otherwise they will not be permitted to go ahead with their programme,” he said. On the other hand, South Waziristan PTI organiser Dost Mohammad Mehsud said that the peace march would proceed to Kotkai according to the scheduled programme.
“We have reports that the political administration will not let the marchers to reach Waziristan or Jandola. But we will hold protest meeting on the place where the administration disallow us further journey,” he said.
Giving details of the programme, Mr Mesud said that PTI Chairman Imran Khan and others, including foreigners, would reach Dera Ismail Khan on Saturday night. They would stay at Hathala Farmhouse situated along the main highway between Tank and Dera.
During the overnight stay at Hathala, he said, Mr Khan would meet tribal elders and affected families who had lost their relatives in US drone strikes. He claimed that top maliks and notables of Mehsud, Ahmadzai Wazir and Bhettani tribes would meet delegates from abroad and would apprise them of their miseries.
The rally would leave for Kotkai at 7am on Sunday. He said that ground had been prepared for a public meeting in Kotkai. Zafar Khattak, provincial leader of PTI, said that workers would leave Peshawar for Dera Ismail Khan on Saturday evening and had planned to reach Tank early next morning.
Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that the provincial government would not ban political activities, including the scheduled PTI march.
“The KPK government believes in political activities and will not stop PTI workers from taking out rally,” he said, adding that the provincial governor had explained the prevailing situation and possible threats for the rally.
“The provincial government is also not in favour of taking people to a dangerous place, but it will not restrict people from taking part in political activities,” said Mr Hussain who urged the PTI chief not to put citizens’ lives in danger. He suggested Mr Khan to take rally to North Waziristan where drone attacks had frequently happened.