Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday said the army fully supports the mainstreaming of the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (Fata), according to a statement issued by the military’s media wing.

According to an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release, Gen Bajwa on Wednesday promised a delegation from Fata that the army will pursue the process to mainstream Fata "in line with the aspirations of our tribal brothers”.

On Monday, a last-minute decision by the government to once again delay the presentation of the Fata reforms bill had led to uproar in the National Assembly. Opposition lawmakers had announced a boycott of house proceedings until the much-delayed legislation was introduced.

The intensity of the protest increased when two federal ministers — Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmed and Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) retired Lt Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch — failed to give a satisfactory reason for the government’s decision to put off the introduction of a bill seeking to extend the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Peshawar High Court to the tribal areas.

On Wednesday, delegations of tribal elders and a youth jirga from Fata called on the army chief at the ISPR directorate to convey their views on the mainstreaming of Fata and the way forward, read the ISPR's statement.

Gen Bajwa was reported to have thanked the tribal elders and Fata's youth for their "determination and support" for peace and stability in the region and its socio-economic development.

He advised the youth to continue to play a role in establishing peace in Fata and Pakistan, calling them “the future leaders”.

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