FATA gets identity

MAJOR political parties sunk their differences and forged unity to give constitutional and legal cover to the much-talked-about FATA reforms, giving a sort of new identity to the people of tribal areas as part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Constitutional (Amendment) Bill envisages doing away of colonial FCR paving way for application of normal laws of the land to the region. FATA will be granted sixteen general seats, four seats for women and one seat for non-Muslims in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. Election to these seats shall be held within one year after the general election-2018.
It is, indeed, a historic achievement as genuine reforms are being introduced in FATA after lapse of seven decades. The successive governments ignored the crucial issue of mainstreaming of FATA on flimsy grounds and imaginary fears and as a consequence not only people of the area suffered and stood deprived of their fundamental rights for seventy years but the country as a whole suffered due to menace of terrorism and FATA becoming a haven for all sorts of criminals. Credit really goes to the present Government for doing the necessary home work, presenting a comprehensive package, giving it legal shape, forging consensus among most of the stakeholders and getting the constitutional amendment passed by Parliament. An important aspect of the entire process is that politicians put their differences behind and extended support to reforms that are set to change the destiny of FATA and KP, the area of which would increase by 27,220 square kilometres besides additional seats in National Assembly, Provincial Assembly and more share from federal divisible pool. Under the FATA Reforms Bill, the number of National Assembly seats (12) and Senate seats (8) will remain unchanged while election to the Provincial Assembly seats allocated for FATA would be held next year. Similarly, trillions of rupees have been pledged over and above NFC share of KP for development of FATA as part of the efforts to bring it at par with other areas of the country. It is all the more satisfying that the reforms are set to be implemented in letter and spirit as all stakeholders support them as was reflected from their endorsement by the National Security Committee. Federal Government has done its job and in the long run it would now be responsibility of the provincial government to take tangible measures for real social, economic and legal integration of FATA region with rest of the KP.

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