PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday announced that if the people voted his party to power in the coming general elections, merging the Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be at the top of its to-do list.

He was addressing the Fata Youth Convention held on the lawns of the Chief Minister’s House to unveil seven action points for Fata governance and development reforms post the PTI’s victory in the next elections.

Mr Imran said there were only 40 Pakistani laws, which were extended to Fata, and that merging Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was not an easy task but it was necessary and therefore, the PTI’s first decision would be the Fata-KP merger after forming the next federal government.

PTI chief says he’ll speak to army chief about tribals’ problems

He criticised Maulana Fazlur Rehman for ‘being a hurdle’ to Fata reforms process, which, he said, was initiated in 2016 but the JUI-F chief began working against it fearing PTI’s popularity among tribesmen.

The PTI chief said after merging tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the people of Fata would have representation in the provincial assembly, too.

He said the next thing on the to-do list would be the abolition of the ‘permit system’, which was a big issue for the people of Fata.

“Next on the list will be the issue of land mines, which should be removed from Fata. The number of checkposts, another bother for the people of Fata, should also be reduced,” he said.

The PTI chief said he would request Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to do something about those issues.

He said the enforced disappearances were another issue on the list of things to do by his party after coming to power.

“In the first six months, your PTI government will extend the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court to Fata. In the first 180 days, it will hold the local government elections to empower the people at the grassroots levels,” he said.

The PTI chief also promised investing the NFC Award’s three per cent share of the tribal areas on mega projects in their region for development and employment generation.

Mr Imran, who sounded quite confident of becoming the next premier, said the PTI was the only party, which truly represented the people, who had suffered a lot since they were caught between the military and militants.

“They (tribals) are voiceless and are facing hardships but we will represent them and make their region part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he said criticising the federal government for sabotaging the Fata reforms process to please the JUI-F leader.

The participants shouted slogans against the JUI-F.

“PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif, you know, has nightmares about me and Maulana (Fazl) scared him by telling him how much the PTI is popular in Fata,” he said.

Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, who was also in attendance, said the JUI-F leader was a hurdle to Fata reforms.

Former MNA from Khyber Agency Noorul Haq Qadri, who joined the party recently, demanded mega projects for Fata to end unemployment.

Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2018

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