Clarity on FATA merger

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INTERIOR Minister Rana Sanaullah on Thursday said there was no possibility of discussion with the proscribed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on the withdrawal of the military from tribal areas near the Afghan border, and reversal of the FATA merger, explaining that such demands were against the Constitution.

In an interview, he also categorically stated that the civil and military leadership were on the same page that the TTP militants would not be allowed to take up arms.

The merger of the formerly FATA with KP took place after detailed deliberations and a lengthy process including adoption of a constitutional amendment bill by Parliament in May 2018 for the purpose.

Of course, there were clear objections and opposition from some circles due to political and other considerations but the Sartaj Aziz-led Committee clearly favoured merger of the region with KP.

The mainstreaming of FATA with its merger with KP was aimed at ensuring the justice- able fundamental rights to the tribesmen from which they remained deprived of for a long time.

It was also anticipated that the move would open new vistas of socio-economic uplift with a community participated development strategies implemented by the elected local government institutions.

There is no doubt that the process of legal, judicial, political and economic reforms is not taking place at a satisfactory pace and as a result there is a sense of deprivation and frustration among tribal people but the Minister has done well by categorically stating that reversal of the merger was improbable.

The real issue is grant of fundamental rights to people of tribal areas as are being enjoyed by people of Pakistan and this should be done at an accelerated pace.

The merger cannot be undone at the instance of the defunct TTP that wants to carry out its own experiments in the region. There can’t be a state within the state.

 

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