Jamaat too supports Fata merger with KP

Source:  Dawn.com Published in Politics on Tuesday, September 22, 2015

PESHAWAR: A consensus is being developed among the political parties about the future of Fata as Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) also supported merger of tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Addressing a news conference at the party provincial secretariat here on Monday, JI chief Sirajul Haq said under the current circumstances, the merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was the best option and his party fully supported this plan.

He said there were three options - give Fata the status of a separate province, set up an independent administrative council on the pattern of Gilgit-Baltistan or merge it with KP.

“I had detailed consultation with parliamentarians, elders, lawyers, ulema and students about the future status of Fata and reached the conclusion that tribal areas should be part of KP,” he said.

He added that like Provincially Administered Tribal Areas, Fata should be given separate status after merger with the province.

Earlier Pakistan Tehreek Insaf, Awami National Party, Qaumi Watan Party and various lawyer forums had favoured merger of Fata with the KP.

The demand for merger of Fata with KP had gained momentum after a group of Fata parliamentarians submitted a bill to the National Assembly Secretariat on September 8, asking for the abolition of Fata and its integration with the province.

The bill is likely to be tabled in the coming session of the assembly.

Siraj asked the federal government to make a uniform policy for tribal areas comprising seven agencies and six Frontier Regions and gradually abolish Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR).

He said the status of Fata should be changed after consultation with tribal elders and ulema and according to the inspirations of local people.

The JI chief said tribal people had honoured all agreements, which they had signed with Father of Nation Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and always remained loyal to the state.

He, however, regretted the successive governments ignored Fata rendering the important region underdeveloped.

Siraj said under Article 247 of the Constitution, no Act of parliament could be applied to Fata and neither the Supreme Court nor a high court had jurisdiction there.

He said people of Fata had been deprived of basis rights and that the region had no proper health and education facilities.

The JI chief said the sense of deprivation among the people, especially youths of Fata, had increased and that they could not tolerate the existing system based on exploitation.

He said his party would convene an ‘all-party conference’ in Islamabad on Fata’s current issues and future and that all stakeholders including tribal elders and parliamentarians from the region would be invited to it.

Siraj urged the federal and provincial governments not to impose decisions on Fata people and said the people of the region should be taken into confidence on matter related to them.

He demanded that the government announce rehabilitation and reconstruction plan for tribal areas and ensure early return of internally displaced persons from there to their homes.

The JI chief suggested that Fata be given its due share from the Coalition Support Fund and be made part of the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor.

He alleged that India had been using Afghan soil to destabilise Pakistan and that special centre had been set up inside Afghanistan for the purpose.

Siraj said peaceful and prosperous Fata was in the larger interest of Pakistan and the entire region.

Earlier in the day, the JI chief visited Mohmand Agency.

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