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Provincial cabinet holding meeting in Landikotal today

By Riaz Khan Daudzai
January 31, 2019

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is going to make history by holding the first meeting of its cabinet at the newly-merged district Khyber of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) today (Thursday).

The cabinet will meet at the border town Landikotal of the Khyber district.

Chief Minister Mahmud Khan will chair the historic meeting that would take up a long-awaited agenda. The provincial ministers, officials and other concerned quarters will attend.

The chief minister had announced during the cabinet meeting on January 2 that the next meeting of the cabinet would be held in Khyber district.

It will be the first meeting of the provincial cabinet in over one hundred years history of the province, which would be held in the erstwhile tribal belt after its merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in May last year.

An official informed on Wednesday that the district administration had finalised all the arrangements for the cabinet’s first-ever meeting in Khyber district.

The Fata remained a semi-autonomous tribal region nestling Khyber Pakhtunkhwa existed from 1947 until being merged with the province in 2018.

It consisted of seven tribal agencies (districts) and six frontier regions that were directly governed by the federal government through a special set of laws, Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR).

Provincial Minister for Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights Sultan Muhammad Khan said that the cabinet was going to discuss an agenda that include a number of items; however, its main focus would remain items related to the affairs of the erstwhile tribal areas.

He said that the media would be briefed Thursday on the decisions of the cabinet that would definitely satisfy the entire nation.

The minister said expansion in the provincial cabinet would take place in February and the cabinet would meet frequently which would make a difference in governance in the province.

About the governance vacuum in the newly merged districts, Sultan Muhammad said that they had implemented the Fata Interim Governance Regulation (FIGR), 2018 to the fill the vacuum, but it was challenged in the Peshawar High Court (PHC), which struck it down.

The moved the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the decision of the PHC. “The apex court maintained our appeal and allowed the provincial government to run its affairs in the merged under the FIGR for six months,” he added.

The FIGR 2018’ is a set of interim rules, has been passed as a bill by a provincial assembly that apply to the former Fata, until its complete merger with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Sultan Muhammad said that a notification would be issued within few days in this regards that would enable the provincial government to fill in the vacuum of governance and absence of legal system in the ex-tribal areas through implementation of the FIGR.

About the provincial assembly and Local Government (LG) elections in the merged districts, he said that holding of provincial assembly elections in July this year in these districts was a constitutional requirement. The government is making efforts to hold LG polls there even ahead of these (provincial assembly) elections, he added.