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PESHAWAR: The delimitation of constituencies in the erstwhile Fata will be completed by Jan 30, while the draft legislation to extend the local government system to the merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is ready to be placed before the cabinet for approval, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa apex committee was informed on Wednesday.

Briefing reporters about the committee’s decisions made during a meeting at the Chief Minister’s House here, information minister Shaukat Yousafzai said the provincial government was prepared to hold elections for the provincial assembly seats in the erstwhile Fata within five months.

“The local body elections can be held in merged districts either in April or May,” he said, adding that the provincial government was ready for the electoral exercise.

Delimitation of constituencies in region by Jan 3, apex committee told

The minister, however, said the Election Commission of Pakistan was to decide about the election schedule.

He said the apex committee also decided to abolish the merged areas secretariat and merged its constituent directorates with the provincial government’s departments.

Mr Yousafzai said the directorate of projects, which coordinated the work of donor agencies in the erstwhile Fata, had also been placed under the administrative control of the provincial government.

He said around 30,000 police personnel would be inducted in the merged areas and 1,000 of them would be assistant sub-inspectors, while khasadar and levies personnel would be absorbed into the police and would be given job security.

The minister said the committee decided to extend the police department’s dispute resolution councils to the merged districts in line with the residents’ call for retaining the jirga system.

He said the uniform of levies and khasadar forces won’t be changed, while their personnel would get a pay raise of Rs12,000-Rs18,000.

Mr Yousafzai said the merged districts would have 25 tehsils and 702 village and neighbourhood councils.

He said the schedules of new expenditures for 1,404 village secretaries and peons were in the process of formulation besides 25 tehsil municipal officers.

The minister said a summary regarding 1,702 offices for LG offices had been sent for provincial development working party for consideration.

He said the government had decided to declare the erstwhile Fata ‘hard area’ to meet the shortage of staff in schools and hospitals, while its independent monitoring unit would be extended to the region.

Mr Yousafzai said the government would follow the district-based recruitment for the merged areas and that action would be taken against the absentee doctors and teachers.

He said the apex committee had decided to focus attention on the region’s development and a six-month plan would be launched for the purpose to be followed by a five-year plan.

The minister said the committee also decided about the holding of the third party loss validation survey in Waziristan tribal district so that the genuine affected persons were not deprived of compensation.

He said the committee also decided to immediately extend the Sehat Insaf Card to the merged districts and launch Rs1 billion package to launch employment programme for youths and 25 sports grounds at tehsil level.

The minister said the government would address the Fata-KP merger-related issues after consulting all stakeholders.

He said the apex committee also decided to promote Darra Adamkhel arms industry and thus, enabling it to export products.

Regarding the abolition of the cabinet committee on Fata-KP merger, Mr Yousafzai said four of the committee’s members would sit in the apex committee.

The meeting was attended by KP Governor Shah Farman, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, finance minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Peshawar corps commander Lt-General Shaheen Mazhar Mehmood, and provincial chief secretary and police chief.

Published in Dawn, December 13th, 2018