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LANDI KOTAL: The elders of different major tribes of Khyber region have decided to move court against the newly promulgated Fata Interim Governance Regulation and merger of tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after Eidul Fitr.

The decision was taken during a jirga, which was attended by prominent elders of Afridi, Malagori, Shinwari and Shalman tribes. The jirga was held at the jirga hall of Khyber House, the office-cum-residence of deputy commissioner of Khyber tribal agency.

The jirga rejected merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and said that the decision was not in line with the promises made by the army chief and other high ranking government officials and politicians. They said that they had assured the tribal elders that their consent would be incorporated in any decision regarding future status of tribal areas.

“The merger of Fata is not even in the best interest of the country as it has been imposed at the behest of foreign powers,” said the participants of the jirga. They added that the merger confronted people of the region with an uncertain situation.

The jirga also took exception to the abrupt abolition of agency development fund and contended that suspension of the fund would affect a number of public welfare and charity projects initiated by the political administration in different parts of Khyber.

The participants of the jirga said that abolishing of quota for tribal students in various professional institutions and colleges would affect the future of poor students of the region as they would not be in a position to compete on open merit with students of the developed districts of the province.

The jirga decided to take relief from the Supreme Court and approach major political parties, especially JUI-F, for repeal of the new Fata Interim Governance Regulation.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2018