By Shahid Afridi
PESHAWAR: Eminent journalist Saleem Safi says the JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has been left alone in opposition of the merger of FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In an interview with TNN, Saleem Safi said Maulana Fazlur Rehman has realised now that the tribal people are not supporting him on his demand of a separate province and he has no support in Parliament on this issue as well.
“Maulana Sahib and Mahmood Khan Achakzai are very close to ex-PM Nawaz Sharif, but he says he wants to restore sanctity of vote. However, the stance upheld by the Maulana and Achakzai shows they are in fact violating that sanctity of vote,” Mr Safi said.
He said all the opposition parties are united on the demand of FATA-KP merger and the PML-N is also succumbing to pressure. “The Maulana and Achakzai have also realised this fact. I am hopeful that FATA will be merged with KP soon,” he said.
Saleem Safi said the proponents of separate province are of the view that it will increase the number of senators. However, he said, senators cannot benefit a province.
“Senators from FATA are already sitting in the Upper House of the Parliament, but they did nothing for the tribal people except bringing bad name for FATA after every three years in the Senate elections by getting elected through money. We are conveying to the world that FATA is a very poor region and data also verifies these claims, but Senators by spending tens of millions of rupees in the Senate election show to the world that the people are very rich. There is no use of FATA senators when they cannot make legislation for the tribal people,” Saleem Safi said.
He said although Maulana Fazlur Rehman is an intelligent politician, but Nawaz Sharif is even more intelligent.
“Nawaz Sharif would have divided Punjab into three provinces if there was any benefit in having more senators. Under the current constitutional structure, a province having a large population and having more seats in the National Assembly takes more advantage. Punjab is more powerful because of its population size and it is also taking share of CPEC from us because of its larger representation in the National Assembly,” he added.