Kunar governor sets out his priorities
ASADABAD (PAN): The new governor of eastern Kunar province has pledged to fight corruption in government departments and reconcile militants who have waged the insurgency due to their mistreatment at the hands of officials.
Shujaul Mulk Jalala, a former presidential advisor and an aide to Sibghatullah Mujaddedi’s Milli Nijat jihadi faction, assumed charge last week as governor of Kunar, replacing Fazlullah Wahidi.
During an inclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Jalala said the president had reposed confidence in him and he was optimistic of measuring up to Karzai's expectations.
Bringing peace to Kunar, fighting corruption, combating drug smuggling and launching reconstruction projects were among his top priorities, the governor said.
He added his top most priorities included improved security by making efforts at convincing insurgents to join the peace process. “I am confident they will listen to me because I know all Afghan Taliban, particularly those in Kunar and they know me as well.”
Jalala insisted he had not betrayed the nation during the jihad era and had served the people and would continue to serve them.
Wishing good relations with Pakistan, the governor said he would work together with the neighbouring country to bring peace to the region. Kunar shares a 260 kilometres border with Pakistan.
The governor said the situation in Chapa Dara district, currently surrounded by the Taliban, would be discussed with tribal elders, religious scholars and the youth.
He said an individual who had popularity among the masses and had clean past would be appointed as the Chapa Dara district chief. “I am sure the issue of Chapa Dara will be resolved.”
Jalala said his second priority would be the elimination of corruption from government departments, saying the menace in Kunar was comparatively at low scale.
The governor said he had warned all provincial officials and district chiefs against committing graft or misusing funds meant at development activities. He said those found guilty would be fired and handed over to prosecutors.
The governor acknowledged that timber smuggling and deforestation in Kunar was ongoing on a high scale, saying many people were involved in the saga, but he named no one.
Jalala said he would not only combat timber smuggling, but would also plant trees to replace the cut down, adding he had been assured sincere cooperation by the provincial police chief and the spy department head in this regard.
On reconstruction front, the governor said he had taken up the issue of clean drinking water, electricity in Asadabad, the fate of Manogai hydropower dam, the extension of power from Naghlu dam and others with the authorities in Kabul.
He also said he had launched efforts at retaking government lands from their illegal occupants, saying the issue could prove problematic for him but he would stay firm on his stance.
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