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FATA merger

Pakistan Tehrik Insaf (PTI) Chairman, Imran Khan has under scored the early merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with KPK province. Addressing a press conference at the Chief Minister House Peshawar, he said the province was geographically in position to welcome the merger of the tribal belt with it. He said FATA should have its representation in the KP assembly. Delaying the merger till 2023 would be a waste of time as it would badly affect the wellbeing of tribesmen and benefit those corrupt elements who are looting the resources of tribal areas. The PTI Chairman termed the FATA Secretariat a den of corruption and said smugglers and corrupt bureaucrats were among its beneficiaries at the expense of tribal people. That is why the corrupt elements are supporting the existing system which is conflict with the aspiration of people in FATA.

The process of mainstreaming of FATA by its merger with KP was initiated by the previous PPP government. The task of FATA Reforms was expedited by the present government. The parliamentary committee on FATA Reforms submitted its recommendations which included its merger with KP and extension High Court and Supreme Court of Pakistan jurisdiction to FATA. The federal approved the FATA Reforms Report, but it was not presented to the parliament for necessary legislation because two allied political parties of PML (N), JUI (F) and PMAP opposed its merger with KP. The central Amir of JUI (F) launched a campaign against it. He addressed a number of public meetings and showed strong resentment against it. JUI (F) has a reasonable vote bank in the tribal areas but on what grounds Mahmood Khan Achakzai of PMAP is averse to the implementation of FATA Reforms. The party has no vote bank in the tribal areas.

PTI Chairman charge sheet against the bureaucracy of FATA is based on cogent reasons because it failed to bring a visible change in the lives of tribesmen over the past 14 years despite showing the spending of billions. The potential of FATA in minerals, Agriculture, forestry and small and large scale manufacturing has not been exploited for the benefit of common man. The health and education infrastructure is in dilapidated condition. The war on terror ravaged FATA reconstruction is no longer the priority of the federal government. Its merger with KP before the next general elections will lit a ray hope in the hearts of tribal people that they will have the right and opportunities available to the citizens of settled districts of the country.

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