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    Jihad Council vows to protect Nangarhar traders

    JALALABAD (PAN): The Jihad Council on Saturday said it would stop the payment of extortion money from traders and a display of illegal arms in eastern Nangarhar province.

    The vow came at a meeting of the council, chaired by MP Haji Hazrat Ali, Jalalabad. Among others, members of the council, traders, tribal elders and government officials attended the gathering. 

    Also the head of the council, Ali said the objective of the meeting was to stop extortion of traders, illegal armed groups, kidnappings, thefts and other offences in the province.

    He had come to the province as a representative of lawmakers from the province to listen to public problems, the legislator said, adding he would covey to the government people's hardships.

    "The Provincial council, MPs and illegal armed groups are treating people and traders of the province with cruelty," he alleged, without elaborating. Ali asked the provincial council to introduce reforms and urged traders not to pay money to anyone.

    Last week, gunmen, said to be bodyguards of provincial council head Jamal Qadir, attacked the factories owned by Haji Farooq, a local trader.

    "We have approached the Wolesi Jirga several times, but no one listens to us," alleged Dr. Mukhlis Ahmad, a representative of traders. They had no arms and had to give extortion, he added.

    Officials were not resolving people's problems while MPs did not attend their phone calls, provincial council secretary Lal Muhammad Durrani complained.

    No one could challenge land grabbers in Nangarhar, Deputy Governor Mohammad Hanif Gardiwal told the meeting. He acknowledged the presence of illegal armed groups and said they carried unlicenced arms.

    He asked Hazrat Ali, Haji Zahir Qadir, Aman Khairi and Fazal Hadi Muslimyar to help them deal with gangs involved in extortion by using the names of martyrs from their families.