Federal cabinet approves FATA's merger with KP, repeal of FCR

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Cabinet on Thursday approved the recommendations of a consultative committee that was formed in November 2015 to examine how to carve out a better future for the poverty-wracked Federally Administered Tribal Areas, depriving groups like the Taliban of support and recruitment grounds.

The cabinet accorded in-principle approval of the recommendations of the FATA Reforms Committee.

Governor Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Iqbal Zafar Jhagra attended the cabinet meeting on special invitation.

Sharif said due shares will be given from the national resources to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and FATA people.

FATA reforms package was under discussion from past year but a consensus was not made.

Due to the stark differences among the stakeholders, some of which were strongly opposing Fata merger with KP, the federal cabinet held in the first week of last month had dropped the Fata reforms and its merger plan from the agenda of the meeting, reportedly to appease Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP), both allies of the ruling PML-N. However, the decision had triggered a strong reaction from various political parties having influence in the tribal regions.

Sharif stressed the need to focus on the development of under-developed areas to improve the living standards of the people.

He said that a constitutional amendment would be made regarding FATA reforms.

"The time has come that the tribal people will be brought into [the] mainstream to end their sense of deprivation", the reported quoted him as saying.

The recommendations include setting a schedule for the repatriation of all temporarily displaced persons (TDPs) by April 30 this year, while the reconstruction in the areas would be completed by 2018.

To another question, Muqam said that Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Assembly would have representation from FATA in the next general elections.

A committee headed by Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has formulated a set of recommendations for bringing the tribal areas into the national fold including the merger with KP. According to him, the word "merger" would be replaced with the "mainstreaming" of Fata.

  • Leroy Wright