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May 17, 2018
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No Fata merger bill being tabled in National Assembly: Baloch

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May 17, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Lt-Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch (retd) Wednesday apprised the National Assembly that currently no bill regarding merger of Fata was being tabled before the National Assembly.

Responding to points raised by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and others members, the minister said status quo would be maintained in holding the general election 2018 in Fata. Elections will be held on existing 12 National Assembly seats for Fata, he said and clarified that the bill being introduced in the parliament related to determining seats of Fata in provincial assembly.

He said after one year of holding 2018 election, the local bodies’ election would be held in the tribal areas. He denied that the government had stated that it would merge Fata after five years rather it had said the process would be done within five years, out of which three years had already passed. He said the merger process could not be initiated unless proper infrastructure was built in Fata, adding that the government had set aside Rs10 billion for the purpose. The minister said 97.5 percent internally-displaced people (IDPs) had returned to their homes and just a few thousands were yet to return out of the 2.5 million IDPs.

He said Jirgas were held in every agency of the area for deciding the status of Fata, adding that the Jirga of 2012 which Maulana Fazlur Rehman referred to was initiative of his own party, and was signed by all the parties.

However, all the parties now were favouring merger of Fata, except JUI-F, he added. He said Fata’s merger package was still there and its implementation would be ensured. The minister said keeping in view population ratio, Fata’s share in National Finance Commission Award was three percent. He said Pakistan has very cordial relations with Afghanistan which would not be affected by merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The minister said a process was under way to give representation to Fata in assemblies and repeal Frontier Crime Regulations.

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