Despite a consensus among the stakeholders to bring reforms in the Federal Administrated Tribal Areas (Fata), delay in merger of Fata with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has caused distress among the tribal people.
Administration in Fata is one of the legacies of colonial times. Due to absence of proper governance in the area, it has suffered decades of neglect, absence of infrastructure, worst law and order situation, dismal condition of human rights. There is also a consensus that Frontier Crimes Regulation implemented in the area is barbaric and people of Fata deserve a constitutional protection. Representatives of federal government in various meetings with all lawmakers from the tribal regions have agreed to the merge. People of Fata have three point agenda, merger of Fata with KPK, extension of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) jurisdiction to Fata and also to give representation of Fata members in the K-P Assembly in the next general election.
As next general elections not too far, time is running out, but still lawmakers seem in no hurry to bring the desired legislation regarding Fata. Political parties of opposition have also putting pressure in a bid to bring Fata reforms as early as possible. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) has called for the merger of Fata and KPK prior to next general election due in 2018. Failing to do so, party head Imran Khan has threatened to raise the tribesmen and lead them on a march to Islamabad. Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) also began its long march on Monday from Khyber Agency to Parliament in Islamabad to press for the merger of the Fata with KPK. The convoy is expected to reach Faizabad Interchange today, where JI chief Sirajul Haq will address the participants. Co-chairman of Pakistan People’s Party, Asif ali Zardari also supports the cause and has reiterated time and again to bring the tribal areas in the national mainstream.
Incumbent government during all of its tenure told that reforms to bring the tribal areas into the mainstream are right around the corner. But in reality government seems reluctant because two of its allies JUI-F and the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party have objected the idea. Opposition of JUI-F is not hard to understand as party has almost no vote bank in Fata, with its merger with KPK, party can lose its influence and power in the province.
Considering the administrative, social, cultural, linguistic, political and geographical conditions of Fata, its merger is the logical and practical option.
Best way to give constitutional protection to FATA is to merge it with KPK.
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