PESHAWAR: Two men have gone to court in a bid to halt the process of merging the tribal areas with the province.
Advocate Noor Alam Khan and Farooq Afridi filed a petition in the Peshawar High Court (PHC) claiming that residents of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) were against the merger and want to be declared as a separate administrative unit.
A two-member bench of the PHC comprising Justice Ghazanfar Khan and Justice Muhammad Ayub had accepted the petition for hearing on Tuesday and directed the respondents to file their replies until the next hearing of the case.
Noor and Afridi named the President of Pakistan through the principal secretary, Ministry of States and Frontier Regions, secretaries of cabinet division secretary, law, and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government through chief secretary, and the Fata additional chief secretary as the respondent in the case.
The lawyers contended that Fata, where 5.002 million people belonging to different Pashtun tribes live over an area of 27,200 square kilometres.
“The merger will be a big blunder since a majority of Fata’s residents want a separate province to preserve their identity,” Noor urged the court.
He added that the government should abstain from imposing its decision on the people of Fata against their will.
Noor said the Constitution provides them with the right of assembly and association and the right to make their own assembly without imposing another power on the underdeveloped area.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2018.