Protestors demand Shindand province, oppose division
KABUL (Pajhwok): Residents of the Shindand district of western Herat province on Saturday staged a protest demonstration in front of the parliament building in Kabul against the proposed division of the town.
The protestors holding banners and placards inscribed with different slogans said the Shindand district should not be divided into more districts, but it should be upgraded as a province.
Shindand is the largest district in Afghanistan with an area over 22000 sq meters and a population of around 850000 people, according to the protestors.
President Ashraf Ghani, who recently visited Herat province, said the map for Shindand had been prepared and the twon would be divided several districts soon.
Some reports suggest the district might be divided to three or four districts.
But the protestors chanted “we want Shindand as a province”, “Shindand residents want to be united and not divided” and “Shindand is pride, not a cancer for Afghanistan”.
Mullah Said Mohammad, a Shindand resident, said “capital of Shindand will be in a better position to control the law and order situation if upgraded into a province.” He said the unity among tribes in the district could be put at risk if it was divided.
Mirwais, another resident, said political indifferences were not allowing the district to be promoted as a province. He said the district had a vast area and was populous which qualified it to be a province.
Nadir Khan Katawazai, a lawmaker from Paktia province, assured the protestors that Shindand would not be divided into districts without the consent of its residents. “The Wolesi Jirga is with you. I will discuss your demands with other lawmakers in the parliament and it is your right that Shindand be upgraded into a province,” he said, asking the protestors to give him a list of demands.
The demand letter said peace in Shindand could only be prevailed if it was not upgraded into a province. If the officials concerned ignored their demands, they would continue peaceful protests and officials would be responsible for that, they warned.
Tawab Ghorzang, Independent Directorate of Local Government (IDLG) spokesperson, told Pajhwok Afghan News the IDLG had received orders about the division of Shindand into few districts but no action had been taken so far. “Services will get improved with division of the district and the respected inhabitants will live a better life,” he added.
He said they were technically looking into possibilities of dividing Shindand into more districts and would soon take a decision in this regard.
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