PESHAWAR   -  President Dr Arif Alvi Saturday said the grant of erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which had been merged into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), would be increased by 3 per cent in the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award to bring the hitherto neglected tribal districts at par with the settled areas of the province.

Addressing a press conference during his maiden visit to the KP capital after becoming president, Dr Alvi said the steps were taken to complete the merger of the tribal areas into KP and creation of Southern Punjab province.

KP Governor Shah Farman and Information Minister Shaukat Ali Yusafzai were also present on the occasion.

The president said the tribal people had suffered massive losses due to the war against terror and compensating them for the same, besides rehabilitation of those dislocated due to the security forces operations, was not an easy task. Over one thousand billion rupee investment was required to put the tribal people back on track, he added.

He announced that election on the provincial assembly's general seats in the tribal districts would be held on July 25, 2019 after which the elected representatives would effectively highlight the problems of their areas in the provincial legislature.

The president said the sacrifices of Pakistani people in the war against terrorism and the damages they sustained had no parallel in the world history and referred to the displacement of people of Swat on massive scale in 2009 to substantiate his viewpoint. The security forces defeated the terrorists in Swat and repatriated the people back to their native areas in a shot span of five months, he added.

He said,“We are aware of the sacrifices of tribal people and will not let injustice be done to them in the country.” He assured that the personnel of Levy and Khasadar forces would not be rendered jobless.

President Alvi said he was given a detailed briefing on the performance of KP government in education, tourism and health sectors. He appreciated the steps taken by the government for the promotion of tourism and education.

The tourism sector, he said, got a boost with the establishment of peace in the country, which could be gauged from the number of tourists visiting the scenic places in KP and Gilgit-Biltistan (GB). The number of tourists to the GB had increased from 15,000 to 2.2 million in the recent past. The GB had potential that the number of tourists to the area could reach around 5 million, he added.

Dr Alvi lauded the KP's Tourism Policy 2015 under which more facilities were made available to tourists in the provinces of KP and GB. In the past, he said, big buildings were constructed at the tourist spots without any planning, which created a lot of problems, besides tarnishing the natural beauty of the area, he added.

The president expressed his satisfaction over the education reforms taken by the KP government. The introduction of a uniform curriculum in educational institutions was a praiseworthy step. Similarly, the provision of facilities to girl students of Madrassa schools was also appreciable, he added.

To a question, Dr Arif Alvi said bridging the gap between the Centre and the federating units, and maintaining harmony among them was his prime responsibility. “I am playing this role effectively since assuming the office."

He said he would sit at the president's office in the Parliament House once in a week to help reduce distances  between the treasury and opposition benches.

The president urged those, who were at the helm of affairs in the KP government, not to indulge in unnecessary criticism and to better concentrate on the resolution of problems being faced by the people.

He said the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transport project, which would become functional by June 2019, would help increase business and trade activities in the KP, besides creating job opportunities, .

The president said the administrative system of the tribal areas would be shifted to the provincial government on the pattern of Swat.

KP Governor Shah Farman said 95 percent process of FATA's merger into the KP had been completed as majority of the departments in tribal districts were now reporting to the chief minister under the new administrative setup. Shifting of police and judiciary to the provincial administration was yet to be made, he added.