Delay in FATA merger into KP worries youth

CJ Akber Ali

PESHAWAR: Delay in implementation of FATA merger with KP has worried pro-merger elements particularly youth who have demanded of the PTI government to speed up the process of tribal region integration into the mainstream.

The FATA Task Force made by the incumbent government should be abolished as some of its members are strongly opposed to the idea of FATA merger with KP and thus they are creating hurdles to disturb the process of mainstreaming the region.

These views were expressed by participants of a consultative meeting conveyed by the Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) in its Peshawar office on Saturday.

The gathering headed by the chief of QWP Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao reviewed the entire process of reforms in the merged tribal districts. Other participants included ex-MNA Shahabuddin Khan, ex-MNA Alhaaj Shajee Gul, journalist Saleem Safi, members of FATA youth Jirga and activists of various political parties.

At the end of the meeting a joint declaration was issued which asked the federal government to call the National Finance Commission meeting for the early release of 3% share of tribal districts as the lack of finance was halting the implementation of reforms plan.

It said that delay in the implementation of FATA merger was a big source of concern for many in tribal region and asked the federal government to provide all out support to KP government for speeding up the reforms process.

The declaration said that the formation of FATA Task Force for reforms was wrong as it had non local and irrelevant people who did not want to see FATA as part of the KP, therefore, it should be abolished forthwith.

The participants demanded of the government to hold local bodies’ elections in former FATA before the elections for local councils across the country and announce date for provincial assembly elections in tribal districts without any delay.

The speakers on the occasion said that women folk in tribal areas was the most neglected portion of the society, so the government needs to take necessary steps for ensuring their participation in social and political process during the transitional period. They asked the government to retain educational and job quotas in colleges, universities, schools and government departments for tribal people.