PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly adopted a resolution in favour of merging the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) into Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The resolution, moved by PTI lawmaker Dr Haider Ali, was adopted by a majority vote.
“The house calls upon the federal government to merge the tribal areas into K-P according to the wishes of people, so that the area can reap the benefits of development,” it stated.
The house gave a resounding yes when Speaker Asad Qaiser put the resolution before it. But the resolution was opposed by JUI-F lawmakers. A JUI-F lawmaker Mufti Said Janan said the merger plan was formulated without consulting the people of Fata “who are the real stakeholders”.
“Those living in Fata are kept unaware of the plan,” Janan said. “His party wants the people of Fata to be consulted and Fata be made a separate province.” He asked the house if K-P has enough resources and capability to shoulder the burden of Fata when it is merged in it.
Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) leader Sikandar Sherpao welcomed the decision of the FATA Reforms Committee and said it had reached the conclusion after holding long deliberations and discussions with all the stakeholders.
“The decision includes the consent of all stakeholders to Fata reforms, and all political parties in the country — including the people of Fata — want to make it a part of K-P,” he said. “K-P will become the second biggest province in the country after the merger of Fata in it.”
The lawmakers also protested over the federal government’s condition for foreign delegates wishing to visit the province to first acquire a no-objection certificate. They wore black armbands to lodge their protest against the federal government’s refusal to issue NOC to a delegation of the British High Commissioner which was coming to K-P for a meeting on Wednesday.
Also, the speaker in his ruling directed the K-P finance department to release oil and gas royalty and hydel profit to districts within 10 days in accordance with the law. PPP’s Muhammad Ali Shah and PTI’s Amjad Afridi raised the issue of holding back oil and gas royalty and net hydel profits of Malakand division.
The house also adopted a resolution, condemning atrocities on Muslims in Syria’s Aleppo and Rohingyas, and asked the federal government to raise the issue on every forum. The resolution was moved by JUI-F lawmaker Mufti Fazal Ghafoor and was adopted unanimously by the house.
Meanwhile, the chiefs of different tribal agencies cautioned against merging the tribal areas in K-P without taking the “real stakeholders” into confidence.
They lauded JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PkMAP chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai for their stance over the merger issue.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2016.