Delayed reforms  

Delayed reforms   

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has also jumped into the discussion on Federally Administered Tribal Areas’ (FATA) reforms and has said that a merger into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was the only permanent solution to FATA’s problems. He was speaking at a press conference following the suicide attacks in Fata’s Mohmand Agency as well as Peshawar earlier in the day that left three dead in total. “The war in the last ten years has left tribal areas in ruins. The region is massively underdeveloped and needs to be integrated into the mainstream,” the PTI chief said. He added that the Centre, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA would have to sit together to decide the merger, adding that the change should be gradual so that the people of FATA can accept the change.

Khan also recommended that the utilisation of funds in FATA should also be jointly decided by the Centre, KP and FATA, and should be spentthrough the local government system. Meanwhile, Khan asserted the menace of terrorism would be curbedsoon, and the nefarious designs of anti-state elements would be foiled. The country has been hit by four terrorist attacks in past few days, which is a stark reminder of the plight of internally displaced persons who have lived in refugee camps for years amid the army’s fight against the terrorist groups in FATA. As soon as that is done “terrorism from Fata that is infiltrating into settled areas can be curbed,” Imran reiterated.

Over the years, several committees have been formed to deal with the FATA issues, but none of them has been able to bear any fruit. In recent times, however, the committee established by the current government has outlined the measures to merge the region into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as bringingit at par with other provinces. The abolishment of FCR is one of the primary demands of the locals.

Meanwhile, the government seemed to have succumbed to the pressure of its allies in JUI-F, and the process of FATA reforms has resulted in a standstill, amid massive outcry from the locals as well as the opposition members in the parliament.

The special committee, with its comprehensive report on FATA reforms, had outlined a thorough process of gradual reforms in the region. But the politicisation of the issue, as well as some vested interests at place, seem to be the reason behind the implementation of the reforms. The government, as well as the other parties involved in the issue, should realise that the people of FATA are the citizens of Pakistan and they deserve the same rights and treatment as anyone else. Therefore, playing politics on the issue must be avoided, and the recommendations of the committee must be implemented vigilantly while taking the locals on board on all the issues. *