Photo by Shah Nawaz

BARA, 19 March: In a desperate attempt to mobilize people against the anticipated merger of Fata in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a public meeting was organized by a social organization Khyber Union near Qambar Abad market here on Sunday.

The public meeting was part of the “wake up tribesmen” campaign launched by the opponents of Fata’s merger in KP.

Khyber Union president Bazaar Gul Afridi, general secretary Murad Saqi, former federal ministers Hameedullah Jan Afridi and Malik Waris Khan, former MNA Malik Baz Gul, tribal Maliks Barekh Muhammad Kamar Khel, Ghafoor Shalobar and other speakers addressed the meeting.

They rejected the proposed merger of Fata in the province and said they would resist the government’s endeavor.

They said that the people of Fata were not taken into confidence by the representatives of the reforms committee and they did not honor the wishes and aspirations of the tribesmen.

They demanded that instead of merging Fata in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a separate and autonomous Fata Council should be established where the people of the tribal areas can use their democratic rights freely.

The organizers claimed that about 3000 tribesmen turned up at the meeting however, independent observers did not verify the claim.

Khyber Union general secretary Murad Saqi while talking to TNN said that today’s meeting proved that the people of Fata were not in favor of merger.

“The tribesmen gave a loud message to the government to build their damaged houses first and then talk about reforms. We demand infrastructure development. We demand highways, medical colleges, universities and other institutions of higher education. We want constitutional and financial powers,” Saqi maintained.

The audience was asked what would they favor, Fata’s merger into KP or a separate council? To which, they responded that they wanted a separate and independent Fata Council with constitutional and financial powers.