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KP-Fata merger delay may see return of terrorism, cautions Imran

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KARACHI: PTI chairman Imran Khan addressing party workers at the Quaidabad Chowk on Wednesday.—INP
KARACHI: PTI chairman Imran Khan addressing party workers at the Quaidabad Chowk on Wednesday.—INP

KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Thursday warned that any delay in the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would leave a legal vacuum in the region and might allow terrorism to return.

Speaking to industry and business leaders at the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI), the PTI leader said that people of Fata had suffered a lot during the past 10 to 12 years. There was a void created by the collapse of the old tribal system which needed to be filled before the upcoming polls as delay in doing so could once again allow terrorism to take root, he added.

If Fata was merged with KP, the provincial police could be moved in immediately, he said, regretting that presently there was no law in the region which left the area prone to crime and other evils.

Referring to a point raised by the industry leaders about frequent dharnas, Mr Khan said that under a democratic set-up it was the people’s right to hold peaceful protests. The PTI sit-in at D-Chowk in Islamabad would never have taken place if the government had immediately accepted their demand of opening ballot boxes of four constituencies out of the total 400 in the country, he maintained.

However, said Mr Khan, when the government ultimately accepted their demand, many irregularities were found in the balloting process and so it was necessary to save the upcoming elections from such illegal practices.

Similarly, he added, the government tried to brush aside the issue of London flats owned by the Sharifs and kept lingering on the matter so that it was forgotten but suddenly Panama Papers emerged which totally bogged down the ruling party’s leaders.

Mr Khan said that he himself faced dharnas outside his house and they normally dispersed peacefully when their genuine demands were accepted.

The PTI chief also warned that the Khatm-i-Nubuwat issue was far from over because the government made amendment without putting the matter before parliament.

The legislature, he said, debated for 14 days before passing the Khatm-i-Nubuwat Bill in 1974, but the incumbent government tried to quietly bring change on such an important and sensitive matter. He was of the view that no country could progress if it failed to carry along trade and industry as at present the most important problem of the country was unemployment.

If governments kept failing to provide jobs to the youth it would be disastrous, he said, adding that the PTI would frame an economic policy with consultation of trade and industry. Corruption, he added, continued to be one of the biggest hurdles in the way of progress and prosperity of the country and the masses could never get the fruits of development if the menace of corruption was not checked.

Local government system

During his other engagements in the city, Mr Khan said that the solution of all problems of Karachi “lies in local government system which does not exist at present in the metropolis where development funds are being plundered by ministers”.

The PTI after coming to power would change the style of administration and governance to turn Karachi into a modern city, he claimed.

Imran Khan, who arrived in the city on Wednesday on a two- day visit, had a hectic schedule including an address to the party workers’ convention in Quaid­abad where he also inaugurated his party’s membership camp.

He alleged that government funds, instead of being used for public welfare, were being “looted by the corrupt rulers”.

He said that the rulers of Sindh “are not even able to lift garbage from the streets of Karachi” and added that after coming to power his party would overhaul local government system in the mega city.

Sindh PTI’s president Arif Alvi, vice president Aleem Adil Shaikh, Ali Zaidi, Dr Masroor Siyal and others also spoke on the occasion. The ‘Tabdeeli Express’ bus was used as the stage from where the leaders addressed the rally.

Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2017