Tribal Elders Adamant on not to Integrate FATA with KP
PESHAWAR: Differences still prevail among politicians and tribal elders over the integration of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas into Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The disagreement led to a chinwag between the supporters and opponents of the merger.
These differences came to a head on Sunday at a jirga attended by lawyers, politicians and tribal elders at Bagh-e-Naran in the city.
FATA Grand Alliance (FGA), led by former senator Hameedullah Jan Afridi, strongly opposed the merger and voiced his reservations over the 22nd Constitutional Amendment Bill. FGA demanded the restoration of peace and the introduction of political reforms before the bill comes into effect.
The alliance accused Fata parliamentarians of deceiving the people. It said the bill submitted at the committee of National Assembly demanding the merger of Fata with K-P went against the sentiments of tribespeople.
“The most pressing issues have been ignored by demanding the merger of Fata into K-P and this will only create further problems,” Jan stressed.
He said people of Fata have their own identity which was even recognised by the founder of the nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
“The slogan comes at a time when peace is being restored in the tribal areas and will only plunge the tribal belt into a state of lawlessness, once again,” Khan Marjan Afridi said.
He said they want to bring Fata into the mainstream, but not at the cost of its identity.
“Fata should be declared a separate province so that it could have its own assembly and governor,” he stated.
Malik Akbar said by awarding the status of a separate province, tribal people could get their own share in the federal divisible pool and this would resolve their problems.
On this occasion, FGA announced ‘Save Fata Movement’ which will be launched from Orakzai Agency and decided to chalk out the future course of action in light of suggestions from across Fata.
Marjan urged all tribal elders and political parties to reach a consensus over the issue and decide their future course of action as one.
Those supporting the merger include senior lawyer Ijaz Mohmand and Manzoor Afridi of ANP, among others. Afridi alleged that those who were enjoying perks and privileges were opposing the idea of merging with K-P.
“Those who are living in Islamabad and visit their hometowns rarely are vehemently opposed to the idea and fail to understand the problems faced by tribespeople.”
Later, they passed two resolutions to find out an amicable solution for the issue. One resolution demanded elected representatives of Fata consult elders and people in their constituencies and reach a consensus.
The second resolution demanded the governor stop the reforms process for the time being.
Into the mainstream
Qaumi Watan Party Chairman Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao said the integration of Fata into K-P will allow tribespeople to play a vital role in the mainstream.
He added tribespeople had suffered a great deal and should be provided with opportunities to lead a prosperous life.
JUI-F senator Salih Shah, who also leads the party’s Fata committee, said they supported the abolishment of Article 247, but it was not a cosignatory of the FATA Reforms Bill. He said only four MNAs signed the bill, while senators from the tribal areas had certain reservations
At the same time, the senator added he was wanted an independent and elected council as well as elders to decide the fate of the tribal belt. He rejected the idea of merging with Pata or K-P said the bill was only signed by four MNAs. They were Shah Jee Gul Afridi, Shahabuddin Khan, Bismillah Khan and Sajid Tori.
Meanwhile, PPP is in favour of a separate province and abolishment of the FCR. However, the party also supports the bills to merging Fata into Pata, said the PPP Fata vice president.
FATA PTI Organizer Sajid Mohmand said that the main purpose of these jirgas is to create hurdles in the reforms bill presented in the NA. He announced his support of the bill and said he will present his views in the upcoming PTI Fata Committee meeting which has been called by the party chairman.
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