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Khattak belatedly recognises schoolchild`s bravery

By Zulfiqar Ali 2014-01-14
PESHAWAR: The public displeasure of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan over late response of the provincial government towards the sacrifice of Aitzaz Hassan Bangash against terrorism on Monday forced Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak to recognise the bravery of Hangu`s ninth-grader and announced recommendation of his name for Sitara-i-Jurat and payment of Rs5 million compensation to his family.

Speaking in the provincial assembly, he al-so admitted that PTI Chairman Imran Khan was justified in criticising him (Khattak) for not visiting Hangu to condole with Aitzaz`s parents.

`Imran Khan criticised me, which is right, he admitted and said the reason for late response was his participation in the wedding ceremony of a relative.

However, the chief minister was reluctant to condemn those behind sending a suicide bomber to Aitzaz`s school.

Treasury benches avoided mentioning the name of the Taliban or militants.

The ninth-grader laid down his life while stopping a suicide bomber from entering the school`s premises on Jan 6.

Aitzaz stopped bomber at the main gate of the school when over 1,000 students were attending the morning assembly.

The chief minister said apart from routine compensation, the government would pay Rs5 million in addition to Aitzaz`s family and rec-ommend his name for Sitara-i-Jurat.

He said the government would also construct playground in Aitzaz`s native town, Ibrahimzai.

Mr Khattak expressed helplessness and anger over the lukewarm response of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif towards his request for a meeting.

`He (prime minister) is unwilling to meet me. I have asked for a meeting with him some four months ago to discuss the federal government`s plan regarding militancy but have yet to receive a response,` he said.

The chief minister sought support and cooperation of the opposition benches to cope with militancy.

He said if the prime minister did not meet him (Khattak), then Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan should come to Peshawar and brief the provincial government about the centre`s policy on how to counter militancy.Earlier, MPAs Fazal Elahi of PTI, Nighat Orakzai of PPP, Syed Jafar Shah of ANP and Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha of PML-N condemned the killing of ANP leader Mian Mushtaq in Peshawar and bomb attack on PML-N leader Amir Muqam.

They flayed silence of the federal and provincial governments over the growing incidents of targeted killings, bomb attacks and extortion in Peshawar and other parts of the province and urged the centre to decide whether it wanted to hold peace talks with militants or begin a military operation against them.

The lawmakers said the people were sick of the poor law and order situation and therefore, the government should come up with a solution to it without delay.

They said political parties had given mandate to the federal government to begin negotiations with the Taliban forthwith but the government was not ready to act accordingly.

Later, the house passed a unanimous resolution asking the federal government to send the interior minister to Peshawar for in-camera briefing.

Through another resolution, PTI member Ishtiaq Urmar asked the federal government to open Balahisar Fort for the people.

The resolution said the historic fort was a suitable place for recreation and therefore, entry of general public should be allowed.

The fort has long been serving as headquarters of Frontier Corps.

Later, the assembly passed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Privileges) Amendment Bill, 2014 with a majority vote as opposition didn`t favour it.

The passage of the bill led to the increase of the monthly house rent for ministers from Rs40,000 to Rs55,000.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Promotion, Protection and Enforcement of Human Rights Bill, 2014 was also passed unanimously.