ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage Barrister Syed Ali Zafar Monday said the implementation committees of federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) governments would meet on Wednesday to review progress of merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) into KP.

Addressing a press conference here after meeting of the federal implementation committee for Fata's merger, he said it was responsibility of the KP government to provide all facilities in Fata areas, extend judicial system, and set up administrative and other infrastructure there.

He said the decision of Fata's merger was taken in a short time and no time period for its implementation was given, therefore, there was no magic wand to create courts at once and set up system of taxation and administration.

The minister said the caretaker government decided to establish the implementation committee to take steps leading towards completion of the merger process. He said the implementation committees of the federal and provincial governments would finalise the schedule to carry out a plan for the merger of Fata.

He said an ordinance would be introduced by the provincial government to solve the problems identified by the committee in its meeting. The draft of the ordinance was ready and would be approved soon, he added.

Zafar said the federal government had committed to provide funds to the provincial government for the building of infrastructure and welfare of people in former Fata areas.

Legislation should also be enacted for the exemption of taxes and taxation measures, including income and sales tax and customs duty, he added. He said the merger of FATA was a historic decision of the century as a big part of the country was merged into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Zafar said the police system would also be extended to FATA and the Levies Force, which would be changed into police, would be given on the job as well as specialized training. The plan would be implemented in phases over a period of time, he added.

To a question, the minister said now legally FATA was part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and it was responsibility of the implementation committees to gradually complete the plan of its merger, which would be in the shape of a booklet.

He said the mandate of the caretaker government was clear that it could not take long term decisions or the decisions, which would become binding on the next government or restrain it.      However, it was bound to take day to day decisions as it could not let the issues linger on, he said, adding it was its responsibility to give facilities to the people according to the law and Constitution.

The new elected government would take the matters forward and could change or take steps for improvement, he said.

To another question, he assured that election would be held in a fair and transparent manner. The election should not only be fair and transparent but should be seen as transparent, he added.

He said he had given clear directives to Pakistan Television that everybody should be given equal time. Another directive was that debates should be held on economy and social issues, and that people should be educated, he added.

He said the government would not interfere in the investigations done by institutions as only such attitude would strengthen and empower them. The government would also not interfere in court trials and if anyone had complaint he should approach the courts, he emphasized.

He repeated that the government would not indulge in any blame game but would put facts before the nation. The minister said the merger of Fata into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was done with two thirds majority of the parliament, and according to the Constitution and in his view the merger was constitutionally a right step.

All the concessions and benefits enjoyed by Fata in the past would remain in place, he added. The minister said Rs 100 billion was collected under the amnesty scheme introduced by the government. More money was being collected according to the Finance Ministry, he added.

He said the issue of putting the name of Nawaz Sharif on the Exit Control List was pending as he was abroad and the Federal Cabinet would consider the matter when he would come back.

Ali Zafar said water was life and Pakistan was fortunate that it had a lot of water but unfortunately it was not properly used but was getting wasted.

The government, he added, was seeking help of experts to resolve issues related to water conservation and dams. He stressed that a plan should be made to implement the water policy.