KHYBER: The Fata Qaumi Jirga (FQJ), a body of tribal elders opposed to the merger of ex-Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on Wednesday announced boycott of the local body elections in the merged districts.

The decision was taken at a meeting held in Jamrud. FQJ chairman Malik Bismillah Khan, Malik Abdur Razzaq Zakhakhel, Malik Afrasiyab, Malik Tamash Shalmani, Malik Najeeb Torkhel, Malik Saleen Katiyakhel and others participated in the jirga, and unanimously announced their boycott of the local government elections scheduled to be held on Dec 19.

Addressing the jirga, Malik Bismillah Khan said holding of local body polls was aimed at further strengthening the merger of erstwhile Fata with KP, adding they rejected these elections just as they had rejected the merger.

He maintained that neither were the tribal people aware about the local government system nor was there any such structure existed in the merged districts, thus the polls would bring no benefits to the already deprived residents of the region.

He regretted that the local government elections were being organised in a hasty manner, saying the real stakeholders were into taken confidence when the ex-Fata’s merger was decided.

The other speakers said the performance of public representatives elected to provincial assembly was zero as they had failed to secure the pledged development funds for their respective districts.

The elders appealed to the people of tribal districts to also boycott the polls and strive for the repeal of the 25th Constitutional Amendment, under which the merger of their region was executed.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2021

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