A prominent English political philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) gives his famous theory of utilitarianism: “The greatest happiness for the greatest number is the foundation of moral and legislation”.

It is the idea, that the moral worth of an action is solely determined by its contribution to overall well being. In simple words it is the total utility of individuals that is important here, the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. The originator of the doctrine supported equality by the equal consideration of interest, and rejected any discrimination between the individual.

For some while I have tried to link this theory with the current political scenario in Pakistan and particularly the debate in the political situation on the mainstreaming of FATA. After a cursory look into the political scenario of Pakistan, we will come to know that our rulers try to link prosperity of the common people with different plans such as construction of roads and buildings etc.

According to them, development simply means building roads, underpasses and motorways. When they want to do something unique, they gift metro-bus or Orange train plans to the nation instead of giving shelter, education and health. Broadly speaking, the smell of dictatorship can be felt in their political decisions. As a result, despite having a democratic system, we are deprived of the fruits of this system, and societal happiness.

Pakistan is the 6th most populated country of the world but the literacy rate of our country is very low. Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), it is 55 percent. Unfortunately our rulers have no interest in this regard. Similar is the situation in other areas such as health, politics and social services.

One can also link the recent debate on the mainstreaming of Federally Administrative tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhawa. Last year Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has formed five members Fata Reforms committee under the supervision of his advisor on Foreign Minister Mr. Sartaj Aziz. The committee visited all the seven agencies and Frontier Regions and make meetings with the people of various community such as lawyers, student, bureaucrat and maaliks.

Finally in August 2016 the committee has submitted its report, in National Assembly and to the Prime Minister. The committee has recommended four basic options for reforms.

1. Maintain statuesque but introduce judicial/administrative reforms and increase focus on development activities.

2. Create FATA Council on the pattern of Gilgit Baltistan.3. Create a separate province of FATA.

4. Integrate FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, each agency becoming a separate District and FRs integrated.

However, the committee has accepted the fact that merger of FATA with Pukhtunkhwa is the most popular demand of the people of FATA. Merging with KP was also the demand of the parliamentarians from FATA and the majority of the tribal people.

Almost all the political parties such as PTI, PPP, PML-N, JI and ANP are also in favor of Fata-KP merger. However, it is very strange that two Pashtun nationalist leaders Mulana Fazal Rehman and Mahmood Khan Achkzai are rejecting the merging of FATA with KP. Both these parties and their leaders call themselves the true representatives of Pashtuns then why are they opposing the reforms in FATA? In the case of Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehmam, one can understand that he and his party are worried about their political career in FATA because if we look at the political history of FATA, from the general election of 2002 to the general election of 2013, JUI-F has always won a majority of seats in FATA. But one cannot understand, in the case of Mr Achakzai, why he and his supporters are against the merging of FATA, even when they know that the party does not have strong roots in FATA and KP.

Being a resident of FATA and a strong supporter of FATA-KP merging I think both the leaderships of JUI-F and PAMP are against the demand of the majority of the tribal people and all they are doing is for their own political interest. Leadership of PMAP and JUI-F need to set aside personal agendas and support the FATA-KP merger. FATA-KP merger is the demand of the majority of the tribal people, which is also the main maxim of utilitarian philosophy.

Broadly speaking, the smell of dictatorship can be felt in their political decisions. As a result, despite having a democratic system, we are deprived of the fruits of this system. Our rulers must remember that prosperity cannot bring delight to the lives of the common people without bringing about reformations, especially in the fields of education and health. Only an educated and healthy society can meet the challenges of the future. Time has come when rulers must adopt Bentham’s philosophy particularly in the case of mainstreaming of FATA.