Bring FATA into national mainstream

ADDRESSING tribal elders on Wednesday, Governor KP Engineer Iqbal Zafar Jhagra touched upon some of the very pertinent issues vis-à-vis tribal areas of the country. He pointed out that educated FATA was a guarantee of sustainable peace in the region, steps are being taken for rehabilitation of IDPs and better health and education facilities are planned for tribal people.
FATA has been focus of both domestic and international attention since long for all the wrong reasons mainly because of the criminal negligence on the part of the successive rulers towards its mainstreaming. It was because of apathy of the past governments and also lip-service of the world community especially the United States, which backtracked from its offer of establish Reconstruction Opportunities Zones in FATA, that the area remains backward and easy prey to extremism and terrorism. Credit goes to Pakistan Army for launching a comprehensive and effective operation that has restored semblance of normalcy in the region but much needs to be done to prevent recurrence of the situation. The plan to establish FATA University followed by a series of medical and engineering colleges would be the right approach to transform socio-economic conditions in the area on long-term basis. But in view of its significance and relevance to the core issues, the process needs to be expedited by way of provision of necessary resources. Similarly, a network of roads should be built for inter-agency linkage and also with rest of the country besides establishment of economic zones in the Tribal Areas. It may also be pointed out that operation Zarb-e-Azb is moving towards its conclusion but still the process of rehabilitation of IDPs is in midway. Government has allocated 100 billion rupees this year for the purpose, which should be utilized judiciously to complete the task.

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