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December 8, 2017



JUI-S jirga demands Fata merger with KP before polls

PESHAWAR: The representatives of different political parties at a tribal jirga convened by Jamiat Ulema Islam-Sami on Thursday demanded merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa before upcoming general election and allocation of a development package for the tribal people.

Central ameer of Jamiat Ulema Islam-S (JUI-S) Maulana Samiul Haq, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Information and provincial leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Shah Farman, central general secretary of Awami National Party (ANP) Mian Iftikhar Hussain, provincial head of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, Member National Assembly from Khyber Agency Shah Jee Gul Afridi, president of Fata Youth Jirga Amir Afridi, Fata Students Organization president, Shaukat Aziz, and tribal elders addressed the jirga at the Pardah Bagh in Peshawar.

Hundreds of JUI-S workers and tribesmen from various tribal agencies participated in the jirga.

Speaking on the occasion, Maulana Samiul Haq said the tribal people had been ignored in development, economic, social and political sectors since the time of the British rule and they had been deprived of constitutional, political and legal rights under the British-inherited Frontier Crimes Regulation.

“Now the people of tribal area are aware of their rights and want equal facilities in health, education and other sectors in Pakistan,” he said. He added that some elements were pushing them to the dark ages.

Criticizing the federal government, Maulana Samiul Haq said it had double standards on Fata reforms and its implementation.

He said on the one hand, the Fata Reforms Committee had recommended merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but on the other the ruling PML-N’s two important political allies were opposing the reforms.

The JUI-S leader came down hard on US President Donald Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and said the entire Muslim world should take this issue seriously.

Provincial Minister Shah Farman said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and PTI would fully support the tribal people in their struggle for Fata’s merger with the province.

“We have got passed a resolution from the provincial assembly in support of the merger and will convene a tribal youth convention for demanding the implementation of tribal reforms,” he said.

“We demand real representation of the tribal people in the provincial assembly where they can participate in the legislative process and take their share in development projects,” he said. He reminded that the resources of the province would be doubled in the federal divisible pool after the merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

ANP’s central general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain said it was time to implement the recommendation of Fata Reforms Committee in letter and spirit as majority of the political parties and the military had put their weight behind the idea of the merger.

“History would not forgive those who are doing politics over this issue as they were not only depriving the tribal people of their human and constitutional rights but also opposing the unity of Pakhtuns into the single largest province,” he added.

JI’s provincial head Mushtaq Ahmad Khan said his party has announced staging a ‘long march’ towards Islamabad in support of the merger. He vowed to continue the struggle for winning the eights of the Fata people.

“Fata and its people have been deprived of basic rights. The federal and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments should announce special development package for Fata and prepare the ground for its merger with the province,” he said. He asked the tribal people, particularly youth, to participate in the JI rally in Islamabad on December 10.

The tribal jirga also passed several resolutions, including announcement of special development package for Fata and payment of compensation to the people of Khyber Agency, North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Kurram, Orakzai and other tribal agencies as they faced displacement and suffered untold suffering.