Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman Saturday said his party was not against merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). The merger, however, should take place with the consent of the people of FATA and it had been the stance of JUI-F from the day one, he said while talking to media here JUI-F Secretariat after a meeting with tribal elders from FATA.
Maulana Fazl said peace had not been fully restored in tribal areas as a lot of tribal people were still away from their homes. After the rehabilitation of tribals, the decision about FATA’s merger should be taken with their consent. He said the JUI-F was not against FATA reforms. They had some reservations about the recommendations presented by the FATA reforms committee. He also announced holding of FATA Youth Council on October 14 on the issue of FATA reforms.
The JUI-F chief alleged that the KP government was following a foreign agenda. The provincial government would not be allowed to pay salaries to the mosque Imams, he added. He said the KP government was going to present Education Service Bill in the provincial assembly, which was totally against the welfare of teachers. It was reported earlier that a jirga of tribal elders and commoners held here reiterated its opposition to the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and asked the government to seek the opinion of the tribespeople before making such a decision. The jirga met at the Bagh-i-Naran in Peshawar’s Hayatabad locality to discuss the recent developments regarding the reforms in Fata and seek unanimity in the views of tribal elders belonging to the seven tribal agencies and the six Frontier Regions (FRs).
Some of the speakers at the jirga were critical of the elders for failing to make a bigger impact while opposing Fata’s merger with KP. The younger tribesmen were in the forefront in criticizing the tribal elders. Prominent tribal elders who spoke at the jirga included Malik Khan Marjan, Malik Waris Khan, Malik Baz Gul Afridi and Malik Attaullah. They criticized the government for unilaterally pushing the idea of Fata’s merger with KP and failing to consult the tribal people despite being the main stakeholders. Some of the speakers stressed the need for making Fata a separate province. Others demanded completion of the ongoing task of repatriation of the people displaced from Fata due to militancy and military operations.
A representative of the nationalist Pakhtunkhwa Milli AWami Party (PMAO) also addressed the jirga and assured full support from the party leader Mahmood Khan Achakzai. The jirga resolved to contact and meet political and religious leaders to win their support for their cause. Proposals to stage protests in Fata, Peshawar and Islamabad were also discussed and it was decided to engage the youth to win their support for bringing reforms in Fata but opposing its merger into KP.