Baghlan-Kunduz highway blockade lifted after 5 days
PUL-I-KHUMRI (Pajhwok): Protestors reopened the Baghlan-Kunduz highway after five days of closure on Tuesday after fruitful negotiations with a delegation from the Presidential Palace.
More than 200 people blocked the busy highway in the Parchawah area of Baghlan-i-Markazi district, demanding the shifting of the provincial capital and university. Over the past five days, the road was reopened only at night.
Late on Monday, a delegation from the Presidential Palace arrived in Baghlan in a bid to find a negotiated settlement of the issue. However, the delegates failed to satisfy the protestors during initial talks.
Provincial High Peace Committee (HPC) Chairman Abdul Samad Stanikzai, who was part of the delegation, told Pajhwok Afghan News presidential advisor Wahidullah Sabawoon had assured protestors the issue would be resolved soon.
But Sabawoon, who also leads the delegation, was quoted as saying that shifting the provincial capital was a subject that should be discussed between district elders and President Ashraf Ghani.
Baghlan-i-Markazi had been the provincial capital before it was shifted to Pul-i-Khumri in 1989 when Syed Jafar Naderi was the governor of Baghlan during Dr. Najibullah’s rule.
The Baghlan University was shifted from Baghlan-i-Markazi to Pul-I-Khumri for security reasons about a month and a half ago. But local officials said the university would be brought back to the old premises.
Hafizullah Suleman Khel, one of the organisors of the protest, said the delegation could not convince them and they would meet again. However, the delegation again headed to Baghlan-i-Markazi and persuaded the demonstrators to end the blockade.
The protest erupted on Thursday, with the highway closed for traffic from 7am until evening daily. Residents blocked the road at 7am, renewing their demand for the central government to resolve their problems.
Hundreds of vehicles full of passengers and loaded trucks were stranded on both sides of the road. Passengers criticised the road blockade, asking the protestors not to create problems for people and instead stage their rally in a park or in an open area.
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