JAMRUD, 15 November: A grand Jirga of tribal elders has rejected the proposed merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and instead, demanded more rights and independent status for the area.

The Jirga was held under the auspices of Fata Grand Alliance (FGA) at the hujra of one Malik Aqal Jan and was attended by a large number of tribal elders, maliks and general public. 

Speaking on the occasion, tribal elders backed by local administration asked the government that instead of repealing the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), its harsh clauses should be abolished. They also demanded that a separated and powerful Fata Council should be established.

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The speakers also asked the parliamentarians, who have tabled a bill in the National Assembly suggesting the merger of Fata into KPK to utilize their energies for the establishment of peace in Fata. “Our main problem is law and order in tribal agencies. Once peace is restored, then they should strive for introducing reforms,” one of the speakers said.

Another speaker remarked that the purpose of this Jirga was not to defend the colonial law FCR but to preserve the old customs and traditions of the tribal people. They said Jirga was still the best way to resolve disputes in tribal areas. By repealing FCR, tribal people would be no longer able to resolve disputes through Jirga.

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The FGA is an alliance of political and tribal leaders of different agencies who have abstained from having affiliation with any political party. The alliance has its own stance regarding reforms in Fata and is totally different from that of the main political parties.

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