FATA Reforms Committee recommends integration of FATA with KPK
Islamabad—A high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday resolved that eradication of the menace of terrorism is neither a choice nor an option but an imperative for our existence and survival.
Lt. General (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua, National Security Advisor and the Convener of Implementation and Review Committee of National Action Plan, made a presentation detailing implementation status as to various components of the NAP.
The Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction on the progress made by various provincial and federal agencies so far and directed that the pace of implementation should be further expedited.
Various laws governing the anti-terrorism efforts were also reviewed and ways and means to make these laws more effective were discussed.
The report presented to the Prime Minister by the FATA Reforms Committee was also discussed and it was decided that the report shall be made public to elicit further debate and discussion towards developing a national consensus on the committee’s recommendations.
The FATA reforms committee in its proposals suggested that the process of extensive consultations with all the major stakeholders i.e. Tribal Maliks and Elders, FATA parliamentarians, leader of major political parties in FATA, the business community, civil society representatives and youth organizations, clearly revealed that the advantages of the option for the integration of FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, were far greater than any disadvantages.
According to the recommendations, the tribes are not in favor of having a separate province for FATA as their economic and cultural links were deeply integrated with the adjoining districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Moreover, the vertical links between Agencies in FATA were non-existent. Furthermore, if FATA was to be become a province, it would not be able to generate the required resources for meeting minimum requirement.
Similarly the option of FATA Council, on the lines of the GB Council, also did not enjoy much support. It was emphasized that even as a transitional measure, it would create new vested interests that could block further reform and lead to the next logical demand of a separate FATA province which, as explained above, is not a viable option.
The Committee’s recommendation to integrate FATA with KPK in order to mainstream FATA will require a transition period of five years. Such a gradual approach, if carefully planned will greatly minimize the likely demerits of the integration option.
To execute the reforms on fast track basis, Article 247 of the Constitution will be retained during the transition period.
The committee in its report also suggested that Special Committee of high-level experts and officials should be formed under the Governor KPK, to prioritize preparation of a 10-year Comprehensive Development Plan for FATA before the end of 2016, to reduce substantially the gaps in development and per capita indicators between KPK and FATA. The 10-year Development Plan should include major infrastructure and irrigation projects, mineral development programme, integrated plans for health and education and special industrial zones.
The committed suggested that the President Order No. 13 of 1972 regarding service matters in FATA may be suitably revised to empower the Governor to attract competent officers from multiple sources for the transition period. All posts in FATA be upgraded/brought at par with KPK.