Saturday September 24, 2022

Govt decides to merge Fata with KP

January 25, 2017

Cabinet set to give approval to merger as govt takes allies into confidence

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to merge Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for which required legislation would be carried out after approval from the federal cabinet, sources told The News.

"Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will apprise the ministers of the issue of merger of Fata with KP in the upcoming federal cabinet meeting. After approval for this merger, the Law Ministry would be asked to prepare the draft of the bill that would be presented in parliament for approval," the sources said.

Sources said the prime minister has taken the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and other allies into confidence over the merger. The JUI-F was opposing this move on various political grounds.

Under the plan, Fata would be put under the control of the provincial government through amendments to the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR). An annual grant of Rs100 billion has also been proposed for Fata's development under the proposed merger and the amount will be given from the Federal Divisible Pool.

It is pertinent to mention here that Fata is being governed by the British-era law called FCR Act that legal experts say is a violation of universal human rights and contradicts the 1973 Constitution. Sources said the merger of Fata with KP would extend the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the high court to the tribal areas by amending the Article 247 and other relevant laws, so that those who want to protect their fundamental rights can do so like any other citizen of Pakistan.

The KP Assembly had adopted a resolution on December 14, 2016 in favour of merging Fata with KP that would help rehabilitate and reconstruct the infrastructure including roads, communications, power lines, water supply, education and health facilities.

Almost all the political parties support the demand of merger of Fata with KP, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Awami National Party (ANP), Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).

The Fata Reforms Committee also proposed last year a set of “parallel and concurrent” political, administrative, judicial and security reforms, as well as a massive reconstruction and rehabilitation programme, to prepare Fata for merger with KP.

Sources said the proposed merger was almost finalised at a meeting presided over by President Mamnoon Hussain at the Presidency earlier this month and the final nod has now been given by the prime minister after discussing the issue with all the stakeholders.