Traders, civil society warn of poll boycott
KUNDUZ CITY (PAN): Some businessmen and civil society representatives on Sunday warned if a railway line was not laid through in Kunduz province to Tajikistan, they would block key transit roads and boycott next year’s elections.
Protesters including provincial council members hinted at bad consequences if the project was not enforced in Kunduz. The warning came amid reports that the railroad -- which was due to link the Sher Khan port through Kunduz with Tajikistan -- will now pass through the Kaldar district of Balkh province.
Haji Khan, a Sher Khan-based businessman, said traders had shared their concerns with the governor and other officials. “If the central government does not respond positively to our request, all men and women will take to the roads and close”
Calling himself a representative of Kunduz businessmen, Khan claimed the government had always trampled on the rights of Kunduz, but its residents would no longer remain silent.
Abdul Zahir Niazi, a civil society member, said: “We protested sometimes back, but the government has not yet listened to us. We will warn the central government if the railway line is shifted to Kaldar district. We will cut relations with the government, boycott elections and block roads.”
He added the 75-km railway line had to pass through the province but the Ministry of Public Works opposed it. Why the ministry wanted the track shifted to Kaldar passed all comprehension, he remarked.
Insecurity is cited as a major reason for the project was not being implemented in the province, according to Maulvi Khush Muhammad Nasratyar, also the acting head of the provincial council.
“A week back I spoke to the public works minister in the presence of the president, who also endorsed my suggestion. The minister was asked to work on my proposal,” Nasratyar added.
A month back, Kunduz residents demanded the rail link with Tajikistan should be extended through Kunduz based on the original agreement. The 490-km railway line, starting from Turkmenistan and passing through Balkh and Kunduz provinces, ends in Tajikistan.
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