HYDERABAD / PESHAWAR: The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) will receive an additional budget of Rs90 billion, apart from its current Rs20 billion budget, for the next ten years after being merged with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, said Secretary for the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions Muhammad Shehzad Arbab.
The secretary also revealed that the tribal area will have a 3 per cent share in the National Finance Commission. He was addressing a one day workshop called Reforms in Fata: A futuristic approach for economic development, arranged by the Cell for Fata Studies of the University of Peshawar at the Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Hall of the university.
The secretary told the audience that the reforming Fata will make sure that no area of the country will be used as a safe haven by the enemies of Pakistan. Arbab, who also served as the former chief secretary of K-P, added that the Tribal Riwaz Act will be enacted after the parliament’s approval. He said after its implementation the Frontier Crimes Regulation will be repealed and people of Fata will have access to the Peshawar High Court and the Supreme Court. Arbab also explained the government’s point of view regarding the introduction of the border management at the Pak-Afghan border. He said, due to the ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb most of the militants had fled to Afghanistan and there was a likelihood that t¬hey might return and the border management system would stop their influx.
The Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Jan, during his address, said that Fata was contributing 1.5 per cent to the country’s GDP; however, it has the potential to add more than 1.5 per cent to the national economy.
The professor added that 71 per cent of Fata’s residents live below the poverty line and urged for the need to bring them at par with K-P. He termed the merger with major reforms as a tool for long-lasting peace and development in the area.
The discussion was also addressed by Dr Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi, Coordinator Cell for Fata studies, Brig (retd) Mahmood Shah, Ayaz Wazir.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2017.