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Halt to Fata-KP merger threatened

Updated May 27, 2018

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LANDI KOTAL: The Fata Grand Alliance on Saturday rejected the passage of the Constitution (Thirty-First Amendment) Bill, 2018, by parliament and threatened to launch a campaign to halt the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

FGA leaders Malik Khan Mar Jan, Malik Salahuddin Kukikhel and Malik Abdur Razzaq Zakhakhel told reporters at the Jamrud Press Club that the people of Fata won’t accept the fresh constitutional amendment for being ‘forced and unjustifiable’.

They said the federal government had laid the foundation of a great disaster in Fata by bulldozing the so-called reforms bill in parliament.

The FGA leaders warned that the struggle of the alliance and Pakhtun Tahafuz Movement for the rights of Pakhtuns would become dangerous if the federal government didn’t withdraw the reforms bill.

They said Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi didn’t keep the promise of addressing concerns of tribesmen about the Fata-KP merger plan.

The FGA leaders said Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had also assured the people of Khyber Agency last month that the future of Fata would be decided in accordance with the aspirations of the local residents, especially elders, but that assurance turned out to be false.

They said they demanded the immediate rehabilitation and reconstruction of Fata ravaged by militancy and military operations during the last 15 years.

The FGA leaders said they would begin a protest campaign after Ramazan and would move the superior courts for the repeal of the Constitution (Thirty-First Amendment) Bill.

In Kohat, the dealers of illegal weapons in Darra Adamkhel have voiced concerns about the future of their business and feared lay-offs after Fata’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Hundreds of artisans are associated with the weapon and ammunition manufacturing in Darra Adamkhel.

An arms dealer told Dawn that he like others had moved all costly weapons to secret places fearing their seizure by the government after Fata-KP merger.

He said the government wanted to tax Darra Adamkhel arms makers and restrict sale of arms.

Another weapon seller said the security forces had distributed forms among arms traders and manufacturers for registration and production of the details of weapon quota.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2018