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Boundary dispute between KP, GB tribes resolved

Boundary dispute between KP, GB tribes resolved

LAHORE/MANSEHRA: In a major development, a grand jirga constituted by the district administrations of Kohistan and Diamer on Tuesday settled the boundary dispute between Thor and Harban tribes of Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, respectively, and also presented cheques to families whose loved ones were killed over the dispute in 2014.

The settlement will enable the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) to accelerate construction work on the mega Diamer-Bhasha Dam project.

“It is a great occasion that the pre-partition issue has finally been settled. Various judicial commissions and high-powered committees couldn’t end this major dispute, which finally a grand national jirga assisted by Wapda and other departments concerned succeeded in getting resolved,” Wapda Chairman retired Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain said while talking to Dawn on Tuesday. “Compensation has also been awarded to the affectees.”

He also said the settlement has paved the way for smooth execution of the dam project.

Settlement to enable Wapda to accelerate construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam

According to Wapda, the announcement of resolution of the issue was made on Tuesday in a ceremony held at the dam site by the grand jirga mandated for settlement of the dispute.

The 26-member jirga was constituted at the end of 2019 to resolve the thorny boundary dispute between the two tribes. It comprised 13 members each from Diamer district of GB and Upper Kohistan district of KP, including tribal elders and religious scholars, who held a series of deliberations over the last two years.

In addition to the jirga members, the Wapda chairman, Force Command Northern Areas (FCNA) Commander Maj Gen Jawwad Ahmed Qazi, Wapda General Manager (Land Acquisition and Resettlement) retired Brig Shoaib Taqi, Project Director Rao Mohammad Yousaf, local tribesmen, lawmakers and officials of Kohistan and Diamer districts administrations and a large number of people from Thor and Harban tribes attended the ceremony.

In line with a decision made by the jirga, cheques worth Rs400 million were also presented in Tuesday’s ceremony to the affectees whose land was acquired for the project. Moreover, compensation worth Rs5m was distributed to families of each of the four Kohistanis killed in crossfire with Diamer’s Thor tribe in 2014. Cheques of Rs2.5m each were also given away to those injured in the incident.

“We thank the jirga for settlement of the boundary dispute between Thor and Harban tribes. We also appreciate the tedious efforts made by the civil administrations of GB and KP and Wapda’s Land Acquisition and Resettlement wing in facilitating the grand jirga to reach the historic settlement,” the Wapda chairman said on the occasion. “I announce grant of Umrah tickets to the jirga members as a token of compliment.”

The disputed territory of about eight kilometres on the Karakoram Highway fell under the direct control of the federal government and has been patrolled by Rangers since the 2014 crossfire.

Earlier, the Wapda chairman also visited various sites of Diamer-Bhasha Dam to review progress on the project.

According to a spokesman, the project is being constructed on River Indus and scheduled to be completed in 2028-29. It is set to have a gross storage capacity of 8.1MAF to irrigate 1.23 million acres of additional land. With an installed power generation capacity of 4,500 megawatts, the project will provide more than 18 billion units per annum to the national grid.

Construction of this dam will also have a positive impact on the annual energy generation of existing hydel power stations, including Tarbela and Ghazi Barotha, which will increase by 2.5 billion units.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2022

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