In November 2015 the parliamentarians from Fata had submitted a bill and demanded the mainstreaming of Fata with the country. In this regard Nawaz Sharif government formed a five-member Fata Reforms Committee under the supervision of his Advisor on Foreign Affairs Mr. Sartaj Aziz.
The committee visited all seven agencies and FRs, and met with different people of the area. Finally the committee came up with the draft bill and put four different options before the cabinet and National Assembly. However the committee proposed the merging of Fata with KP . At the same time, however, it must be noted that this hasty merger will divide opinion. The fact that only 2 FATA MNAs out of a total of 9 voted in favour of the bill would itself have stood in gross violation of the spirit of the constitution had the other 7 voted against the bill.
We should also remember Jinnah’s 14 points. According to the 8th point “No bill or resolution or any part thereof shall be passed in any legislature or any other elected body if three fourths of the members of any community in that particular body oppose it as being injurious to the interests of that community or in the alternative.”
However, this reform and merging with KP has some pros and cons, which have varying impacts on the lives of tribal people. In the last 3-4 years we have seen and the observed more disadvantage as compared to the advantages of Fata-KP merger. As we know that every things has some pros and cons but in case of Fata-KP merger up till now we have faced with a lot of cons.
It was proposed in the reforms that FCR will be replaced with the local Riwaj Act, but there is no difference between the FCR and Riwaj, just a change of name.
The most important thing is that in the recent Senate election four Senate members form Ex-fata retired and only two members from ex-Fata have been elected on kpk special seats. If we have a separate province then tribal areas will get 11 or 12 members in Senate. In the next Senate election we will also lose our all the Senate members.
Similarly the people of the area are also losing their quota system in various departments, like their seats in central superior services and other educational institutions of the country. We have seen such things in the last few years that students from tribal areas are losing their reserved seats in various medical, engineering and other universities of the country particularly in Punjab province. One such example is the ongoing protest of the students from Fata and Balochistan in front of Governor house Punjab.
At the same time we are also losing our share in the National Finance Commission and other shares of the finance. One such example is that the Sindh government has not yet to allocate it’s share of fund for tribal areas. Despite all these cons and disadvantage Fata_ KP merger has also some pros and advantages.
Initially I was a strong supporter of Fata KP merger. However the consequences in the last few years have changed my mind and this able me to support the stance of JUI (F) and PMAP against the merger of the tribal areas and realize that merger was a great disaster for the future of the tribal areas. One thing which I personally realized is that presently government is not fulfilling the promised which were made with the tribal people at the time of merger. Government particularly the KP government should implement all those policies which were made with tribal people in true sense so that the merger will prove a landmark achievement both for the country and tribal people too.
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