On Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Wana in Waziristan and announced that 3G/4G internet services would become operational in the region from today.
“I know that 3G and 4G is important for education and development,” he said, “this was a huge demand of the youth, one that was justified”. The premier was giving a speech at the occasion of a cheque distribution ceremony for the successful applicants of the Kamyab Jawan Loan Scheme and the Youth Internship Scheme.
The Prime Minister further informed the attendees that “security issues” were a major reason in the delay behind providing 3G/4G internet services. He remarked that India was actively trying to fund terror activities in Pakistan, especially in regions bordering Afghanistan, which creates the possibility of terrorists using these internet facilities to harm the local population.
“But I spoke to my security agencies […] we agreed that we need to be cognisant of terrorists using this facility. Despite this, we also thought that it is the need of our young people and that is why this service will become operational from today,” the crowd cheered as he announced this.
The Premier highlighted that Waziristan has one of the highest rates of poverty in the country, with nearly 70% of its people living below the poverty line. “That is why we have the Ehsaas programme, the aim of which is to uplift those living below the poverty line by giving them cash stipends and scholarships.”
He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to work for the welfare of the people of Waziristan. “This is the best area for growing olive trees. We have carried out a survey and will start planting trees next month, which we will hand over to the people.”
He said that people’s income would increase drastically due to the olive trees, resulting in them not having to travel abroad for jobs.
During his address, the prime minister also addressed the need for alternative institutions for the region, which combine government oversight and local customs. He commented on the issue of arbitration and dispute resolution and the traditional Jirga system in erstwhile-FATA. “I know about your history and I agree with you on this. Even in our religion, elders are respected. In tribal areas they play a special role.”
He referred to the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) system, which he remarked was essentially the Jirga system regulated. “We are just changing the name, you will take decisions,” he said, assuring the people that the government was aware of the people’s traditions.
He also announced the accessibility of the health insurance card for the local population.