PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday stressed that militancy could be curbed with merging federally administered areas with Khyber-Pakhtnkhwa.
He stated that the fresh wave of militancy can be rooted out if the process of the merger is accelerated.
Speaking during a press conference at Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC), the PTI chief said that the initiative should have been taken a year ago, adding that ‘once the tribal areas are merged, streamlined, a local government system established, development in Fata would change everything.
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“The only solution to rooting out militancy from the region is development in Fata and it is possible once the tribal areas are merged with the province,” Imran said, adding that the region has gone through the critical stages of its history and people had to suffer since 2002 following the volatile law and order situation.
“Further delay in the merger process would allow terrorism to take roots in the vacuum that currently exists in the region,” Imran said, adding that the repercussions of slow progress will not only be felt in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but also in the rest of the country.
“If we want to reap the benefits from operation Zarb-e-Azb and National Action Plan, it is essential to merge Fata [with KP],” Imran said, adding that the issues pertaining to Fata need to be resolved at the earliest.
He told reporters that a meeting had taken place earlier in the day to discuss in detail what steps could be taken to speed up the merger, adding that the government was left with no other choice but to merge Fata with K-P.
“The war in the last 10 years has left tribal areas in ruins. The region is massively underdeveloped and needs to be integrated into the mainstream,” the PTI chief added.
K-P Chief Minister Parvez Khattak also spoke on the occasion and stated that Fata had received Rs50 billion for development but after its merger with K-P the budget will swell up to Rs100 billion.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2017.