190424 imran khan
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  • Solar panels to provide electricity in tribal areas
  • Two degree colleges to be set up
  • Small dams to supply fresh drinking water
  • Health cards for all in tribal areas 

Dubai: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement to spend Rs100 billion (Dh2.6billlion) to develop the backward tribal areas in the country is one of his wisest decisions.

The developing tribal area, which were earlier known as the breeding ground for militants and hide-outs for terrorists, will help bring them in the main political system and end the feeling of being left out as deprived people.

Imran is probably the first prime minister of Pakistan who is taking practical steps to bring reforms in the most backward and under-developed tribal belt of the country.

Addressing a gathering of tribal elders at the Spinkai Raghzai area of South Waziristan on Wednesday, Imran announced that Rs100 billion will be spent annually on the development of the tribal areas.

Deprived areas

Lack of job opportunities, healthcare facilities and educational institutions plagued these areas for decades forcing the local population either to migrate to Gulf countries to earn living or indulge in illegal businesses of drug-peddling, arms smuggling or even joining the militant groups to make both ends meet.

Pakistan has merged the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the Afghan border into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in a bid to bring constitutional governance and restoring peace to the trouble areas. But no practical steps have so far been taken to improve the plight of deprived people of the tribal areas, which has an estimated population of more than five million.

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Imran said the amount that the government was going to spend annually had not been spent on the region in the past 70 years. Imran is hugely popular in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and in tribal areas.

He said that the people of the tribal areas would be provided with things they have been deprived of in the past, and as a result of which they had been left behind.

He said that the tribal areas were the poorest in the country, with the lowest education level and highest unemployment rate.

“The people of tribal areas had been left behind because no one understood them nor did they try to understand them," he said.

The premier said that he believed that the country could not progress till all areas of the country were given a level playing field.

"I understand all your problems," the premier said, adding that the purpose of his visit was to solve the problems faced by people in the region, Pakistani media reported on Wednesday.

Imran said that he also understood the problems that they would face after the tribal areas were merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

New projects

He said that tribal area residents would be given the Sehat Insaf Card (health cards).

The people of the area will also be given special funds for the damage caused to their houses in the fight against militancy. A special quota of loans for entrepreneurship will be given to the youth so that they can setup their own shops.

The government has decided to pave 100 kilometres of new roads in Waziristan—once a haven of terrorists groups but now a peaceful area.

Two colleges, one for boys and one for girls, will also be established in Wana in addition to a sports complex.

A grid stations will be upgraded and solar power will be introduced in some parts of the tribal areas.

He said that small dams will be constructed to meet the water demand of the locals. A special job quota will also be fixed for the tribal youth.

Imran has earlier visited other tribal areas including Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber and Orakzai districts where he announced several development projects for the welfare of tribal people.