ISLAMABAD -  Political workers clashed with law enforcers on Monday when they moved towards Red Zone to record their protest against the delay in Fata merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The capital police checked their movement while barriers were erected at China Chowk, however, the law enforcers could not halt protesters’ movement towards Red Zone.

Reportedly, ANP Senator Shahi Saeed led a group of workers to a violent clash with police personnel.

The protesters reached the D-Chowk, where ANP chief Iftikhar Hussain addressed the protesters, claiming security agencies, the government and the people want merger.

He asserted that the locals want an end to FCR and rule of the courts. The protesters announced continuing the agitation until the president announces the merger.

Earlier, the protesters marched from Peshawar to Islamabad to press their demand for early merger of the tribal area with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Led by Fata MNA Haji Shah Gul Afridi, over 1000 people reached the National Islamabad Club in a caravan and marched towards D-Chowk to record their protest against the delay in implementation of Fata reforms package.

Leaders including Fata MNA Haji Nazeer, Senator Shahi Syed, former MNA Bushra Gohar, Haji Muhammad Ashraf, Noor Wazir and others were among the participants of the rally.

The participants chanted slogans against the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) and asked the government to take immediate steps to merge Fata with the KP province.

“Go FRC go… merge Fata with KP and Fata will become Pakhtunkhwa,” they chanted as they marched on Kashmir Highway. The workers of Awami National Party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamaat-e-Islam, Pakistan People’s Party, Qaumi Watan Party, t Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and other parties participated in the rally. 

In March this year, the government approved a set of steps to be taken for the proposed merger of Fata with KP under a 10-year reform package to bring the tribal region at par with other developing areas of the country.

Over Rs110 billion development package, proposed by a six-member Fata reforms committee, was also approved for the seven agencies of the tribal region. Prime Minister’s then Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz was head of the reforms committee. Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Peshawar High Court will be extended to Fata under the scheme. Introduction of the local government (LG) system, education and jobs opportunities for youth and up-gradation of Levis Force are part of the 24-point Fata reforms. However, the LG polls will be held after 2018 general election, according to the package.

The decisions were taken at a meeting of the federal cabinet presided over by the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The reforms package was to be sent to President Mamnoon Hussain for final approval and then a constitutional process was to be initiated to implement it. However, the government delayed the implementation process after the JUI-F and PukMAP, both allies of the PML-N in Centre, expressed reservation on the recommendations of the committee, forcing the federal government to hold up the package indefinitely.

The tribesmen have been lamenting the delay in implementation of the reforms and the merger. The marchers were of the view that the government should take steps to implement the plan without any further delay.