Thousands rally against change in TUTAP project actual route
JALALABAD/ASADBAD/KHOST/SHARANA (Pajhwok): Thousands of people on Sunday rallied in eastern Nangarhar, Kunar and southeastern Paktika and Khost provinces in support of President Ashraf Ghani and against a change in the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TUTAP) electricity project’s actual route.
However, residents of central Bamyan province say the project be routed through Bamyan instead of Salang, but officials say routing the project through Bamyan is costly and would prolong the project implementation by several years.
The change in the project route has sparked protests in central provinces and a few days ago when President Ghani was addressing a gathering in London, some Afghan refugees there insulted the president and hurled abusive words at him. Also dozens of Hazara people protested in London against the president.
Thousands of people staged a protest rally in Khost province against routing TUTAP project through Bamyan and called the London incident an insult to all Afghans.
The protestors chanted “we want electricity for Khost and “we condemn insult to the president.”
The protestors carried pictures of former second vice president Karim Khalili, second vice president Sarwar Danish and Hazara leader Mohammad Mohaqqiq with red lines painted on their faces. The protestors also trampled on their pictures.
Khost provincial council chief Abdul Wali Wahidzai accused a number of unity government’s high ranking officials of ‘national treason’ and fueling differences among different tribes at the behest of outsiders.
Wahidzai said the people of Loya Paktia, particularly of Khost, would not accept any change in the TUTAP project route under any circumstances and they would continue their protests until their demand was met.
He said a separate line would be extended to Bamyan as part of the TUTAP project, but Danish, Khalili and Muhaqqiq were fueling tension to please their foreign masters.
In Nangarhar, hundreds of people protested in Jalalabad, the provincial capital, in support of President Ghani and called for prosecution of those who insulted the president in London.
The protestors had decorated their vehicles with photos of the president and they also installed his pictures at various places of the city.
Nangarhar governor’s spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said the protest was peaceful and no untoward incident took place.
In Kunar province, civil society activists and tribal elders said those who interrupted the president’s speech as “spies of Iran.”
The protestors at the provincial capital, Asadabad, chanted pro-Ghani slogans. They asked the president to implement the TUTAP project through Salang and called for a trial of the persons who disrupted Ghani’s speech in London.
A civil society activist, Shah Wali Salarzai, said the London incident was a pre-planned plot hatched by Iranian spies.
Tribal elder Haji Mohammad Rozi said the power project should be routed as surveyed.
Also on Sunday, thousands of people protested in support of the TUTAP project route through Salang and condemned the London incident.
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