The final step in the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was completed on Thursday, after President Mamnoon Hussain signed the 25th Constitutional Amendment Bill into law.
The bill, approved by parliament as well as the KP Assembly, was signed by the president at a special ceremony. Governor KP Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, head of the FATA Reform Committee Sartaj Aziz, National Security Advisor Lt Gen (Retd) Nasir Khan Janjua and Prime Minister’s Adviser Barrister Zafarullah Khan witnessed the inking of the historic document.
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani had forwarded the bill to the president on Tuesday. The Senate of Pakistan had received the bill from the Ministry of Law and Justice after its passage from the KP’s provincial assembly on May 28. Accordingly, the Senate chairman had authenticated the bill and sent it to the president for assent under Article 75 of the Constitution.
President Mamnoon Hussain felicitated the people of Fata, saying that now they also enjoy the same rights available to other citizens of the country.
He expressed hope that after the merger with KP, Fata will enter a new era of development and prosperity. The president also expressed the hope that the move would bring greater stability to the region.
The constitutional amendment bill seeking the merger of Fata within a year’s time had been passed by the National Assembly and the Senate last week amidst opposition by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party.
The Head of the FATA Reforms Committee Sartaj Aziz said following the constitutional amendment the people of the federally administered tribal areas were now mainstreamed and would enjoy equal rights like other citizens of the country.
He said all the agencies of FATA would now convert into districts and the assistant political agents would now serve as deputy commissioners. He said Rs1 trillion would be spent on the development of the area over a period of next ten years.
He said of this 25% of the amount would be spent through the local bodies for development of infrastructure in health, education, roads, communications and other projects. He expressed the hope that following the merger the law and order would also be improved.