PESHAWAR -  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday said that there is no best option other than to merge Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP). “Fata’s bright future lies in its merger with the KP, and among others, it is the most viable option with us,” he said.

Opposing the proposal of making Fata a separate province, he said that tribal areas integration with the KP should have been carried out earlier, because, there is a visible consensus on it. Stressing over Fata’s merger with the province, Imran said “it will be helpful in eliminating terrorism.”

Speaking at a news conference at Hayatabad Medical Complex, he said that there is a vacuum in Fata, which can only be filled by its speedy merger with the KP. He warned that gains of Zarb-e-Azb operation could be reversed if the merger process was delayed.

Flanked by KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Jehangir Tareen, Provincial Health Minister Sharam Tarakai and others, he said that Fata’ future should have been decided soon after the end of Zarb-e-Azb.

To wipe out terrorism, the whole nation backed the National Action Plan (NAP), PTI chief said. To achieve NAP’s benefits, Fata should be brought to the mainstream by making it a part of the settled areas, he said.

Condemning the recent terrorist attacks in Lahore, Mohmand Agency and Peshawar, he said that cowardly acts of terrorism could not deter their resolve to restore peace.

Imran, who was present in the provincial metropolis when a suicide bomber rammed his motorcycle into a government van in Hayatabad area, killing its driver and injuring three female and one male civil judge of the lower judiciary, asked the provincial government to investigate the terrorist attack from all angles and bring the perpetrators of the violence to justice.

The PTI chairman said that centre, KP and Fata would have to sit together to decide the way of merger. The merger and change should be gradual so that the people of tribal areas accept it, he added. He said the utilisation of funds for internally displaced persons (IDP) should also be decided jointly by centre and the KP. He suggested that local government system should be introduced in tribal areas and the funds should be spent through local government system. He said that sending the IDPs is almost one year late and this process should not be further delayed.

 

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 16-Feb-2017 here.