In Bajaur, the completion of two years since municipal elections is being observed as a Black Day, with local government representatives voicing their discontent over unfulfilled promises and lack of empowerment.
Haji Syed Badshah, elected from Khar sub-division on Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam’s ticket, emphasized that the government’s claims to strengthen the local government system remain unfulfilled, and the absence of powers for local representatives amounts to a denial of people’s rights.
According to Chairman Haji Syed Badshah, local government representatives have not received the powers granted by the constitution and the country’s law. They also lament the absence of a share in development funds, questioning the government’s commitment to strengthening the local government system.
The protest involves tying black bands on their arms, symbolizing their dissatisfaction and a continued struggle for their rights.
Reflecting on the uniqueness of the elections held in the tribal districts, Haji Syed Badshah highlighted the democratic and political activity in the Hanke area, where people participated willingly. However, despite the initial enthusiasm, local representatives expressed disappointment and deprivation, considering the current state of affairs as Black Day.
Ali Muhammad, the elected chairman of Bajaur’s second major NC, Inayat Kaly, also supports the declaration of Black Day. He entered the political arena to serve the underprivileged sections of the area but expressed disappointment at the lack of clarity regarding his responsibilities and the absence of essential resources for his office.
The Black Day serves as a message to the ruling elite, illustrating how the local government system has let down the people, leading to growing resentment and discouragement for future participation in the field.
It is crucial to recall that the local elections in the merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa took place for the first time after the FATA merger in December 2021. While tribal people were initially excited about their inclusion in the system, the outcome turned into a nightmare, with representatives feeling neglected and the system deemed a joke. The lack of attention from rulers has deprived tribal people of the benefits of local body elections, prompting the observance of Black Day in protest.