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Talks with locals for Rs100bn uplift plan for former Fata soon

Updated March 19, 2019

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PM Imran Khan says three-week consultative process to begin from Bajaur. — DawnNewsTV/File
PM Imran Khan says three-week consultative process to begin from Bajaur. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: The federal government is all set to initiate a three-week consultative process to discuss with residents of erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) a 10-year plan under which Rs100 billion will be spent on development of tribal districts every year.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said the consultative process would be initiated from Bajaur, where he had addressed a public meeting last week. “Our people in the tribal area will see unprecedented development, as government plans to spend over Rs100 billion annually for 10 years in tribal districts,” Mr Khan said.

He added, “[We are] living up to our commitment. A three-week consultative process on 10-year development plan for Fata is being initiated, starting from Bajaur.”

All the seven strife-torn agencies of Fata had been merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa last year.

PM says three-week consultative process to begin from Bajaur

Talking to Dawn, special assistant to the prime minister on media Iftikhar Durrani said the government had planned to spend Rs1 trillion over the next 10 years on Fata. He said development work had already been initiated in the health, education, infrastructure, communication, law and order, security and tourism sectors.

He said the main idea behind the planned consultation was to keep the locals on board so that development activities in their areas could be carried out according to their “need and desire”.

Under the consultative process, meetings would be held with local jirgas in which representatives of KP government would also be involved, he explained.

He said the PM was quite concerned about Fata’s mainstreaming, as this was the top priority of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government. He said the prime minister himself monitored the area’s development programme on a regular basis.

About some ongoing projects in the region, Mr Durrani said police were replacing the Levies force to take responsibility of Fata after its merger with KP. “Police stations are being built and jobs being given to locals in police,” he said, adding that courts were also being established in the areas.

Similarly, he said, buildings for schools were under construction while hospitals were being established in rented buildings in Fata.

Mr Durrani said mobile phone service was made available in South Waziristan after which it would be provided in Bajaur.

He said the prime minister also vowed to streamline and improve the Afghan transit trade route in Fata for which necessary work would be completed in the area.

Mr Khan has recently been briefed about the administrative and security issues related to the merger. He was quoted as saying that indiscriminate and fair distribution of funds must be ensured in Fata.

During his last week visit to Bajaur, the PM had expressed his desire to extend tourism facilities in Fata so that local and foreign tourists could see beauty of the tribal region. He had also given directives to the KP government in this regard.

Following Fata’s merger with the KP, seven (tribal) agencies have been given the status of districts with political and assistant political agents having been designated as deputy and assistant commissioners, respectively.

The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Peshawar High Court (PHC) has already been extended to the tribal region. The PHC has started setting up district and sessions courts in each of the new districts, and the process is expected to be completed in two to four months.

The application of Fata-Interim Governance Regulations 2018 will temporarily continue to operate in place of the centuries-old Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR).

A development plan worth Rs1 trillion for Fata had been introduced by the last Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government. The National Economic Council later decided to have a 10-year development plan worth Rs1 trillion for the new districts.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2019