PESHAWAR: A grand Jirga convened by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami (JUI-S) on Thursday demanded immediate merger of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, rejecting five and 10 years plan for the merger devised by the federal government.
The Jirga, chaired by JUI-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq, also demanded abolition of the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), which govern Fata, and giving it representation in the K-P Assembly along with a developmental package for region.
Calling the government plan for the Fata merger a “fable,” the participants of the Jirga said that the people of Fata needed equal rights like the rest of the citizens of Pakistan and that they could not be “left at the mercy” of a few bureaucrats.
“British rulers made Fata a buffer zone for their imperialist motives. The government of Pakistan even after 70 years of the country’s independence has kept the draconian British era law – the FCR – in Fata,” Sami told the Jirga.
“The people of Fata, despite being citizens of Pakistan, have been deprived of the basic rights and they are treated like slaves,” he said, adding that the federal government should complete the merger of Fata with K-P before the next general elections.
Sami-led jirga demands FATA merger with K-P
The grand Jirga at the Parda Bagh in Peshawar was attended by K-P government spokesperson Shah Farman, Awami National Party (ANP) General Secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Naib Ameer Prof Ibrahim and K-P Ameer Mushtaq Ahmed Khan, National Assembly Member from Fata Shah Jee Gul Afridi and elders of Fata.
Addressing the participants, Sami criticised US President Donald Trump for recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “Trump has taken the decision to hurt the Muslim world,” he said.
Sami criticised rulers of the Muslim countries, saying it was their failure that Israel occupied Al Quds. He was particularly critical of Saudi Arabia and the formation of a new military coalition by King Salman bin Abdulaziz. “What is its [military coalition] use,” he asked.
Grand Jirga over FATA reforms ends in a brawl
Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that majority of the political and religious parties, as well as people of Fata are in favour of the merger. “What is the hindrance,” he asked. He accused former prime minister Nawaz Sharif of delaying the process of freeing the Fata people from FCR’s yoke.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shah Farman said the Fata people did not enjoy their basic rights while its representatives in parliament made legislation for their own benefits. He added once Fata was merged with K-P, its representatives will be bound to legislate for the whole province.
The JI provincial chief announced that his party would hold a long march towards Islamabad to press the federal government for the immediate merger of Fata with K-P and the abolition of the FCR. He also criticised the US decision to recognise Jersalem as the Israeli capital.
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