The KRG strives to turn Halabja province
Changing geographical map of the provinces is a sovereign issue and it needs the Iraqi federal government approval, According to the constitution.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is preparing a project to turn the city of Halabja a province. But the Iraqi federal government is the only party which has the authority to eventually approve such a project. The residents of the city have been divided over two fronts, one supports the idea and the other says as the Kurdish provincial, parliamentary and presidential elections are approaching the political parties use it for their own political propaganda.
The KRG’s cabinet held a ministerial session on June 4 in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region, and they considerably discussed the issue of turning the city to a province. The cabinet formed a committee, to follow up the project, which included the KRG’s Ministers of Interior, Justice, Planning, Governor of Sulaimani and Deputy to Head of Ministerial office. The committee should pave the way for the legal procedures and to point out the expected border of Halabja.
According to the project the district of Halabja, Sharazoor, Sayed Sadiq and Penjwen will be included in the province border.
Part of Halabja residents expressed their happiness after they heard about the news. They said by turning the city to a province the residents will take the most benefit.
Aras Abid, Deputy to the Head of Halabja Chemical Attack Victims Group, told Kurdish media outlets that implementing of the project is very important. He added the government has made a great effort if it is not for the political purpose.
On the other hand, some residents claim that the decision is just an election propaganda by which the ruling parties attempt to gain more votes in the upcoming elections. Parts of the members of Sulaimani provincial council believe that turning Halabja to a province will negatively affect the trading flow in the province ultimately.
The KRG had decided several times before to take the legal and administrative procedures to turn the city a province but they all failed at the end. A member of Sulaimani’s provincial council says that fulfilling the decision means dividing Sulaimani into smaller parts because Garmiyan and Raparin administra- tions were already cut off from the provinces’ body.
Except the KRG and Parliament’s decision, turning Halabja a province needs the Iraqi federal government’s approval too. Changing geographical map of the country is a sovereign subject and the only party which can decide on it is the Iraqi government, according to Iraq’s constitution. Now Iraq has 18 provinces and Halabja will become the 19th if the decision fulfilled.
Halabja has a large fertile agricultural area, tourist attractions, having a border with the neighboring Islamic Republic of Iran and many fruit gardens.
The KRG in cooperation with Iraqi government can open an official crossing border in Halabja as well as they can call on the international and domestic companies to invest their capital there because the district of Sharazoor has one of the most fertile lands across Iraq.
people walk nearby the monument of Halabja city.