Let Fata people decide their fate: Fazl

ISLAMABAD – Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that people of FATA must be allowed to decide about their future and fate as slapping of any decision on them in the name of reforms would not yield positive results.

Addressing a gathering of FATA people organised by his party against the FATA reforms and merger of these areas with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the JUI-F chief said that the large majority of the people living in these areas wanted a separate status for them and opposed the plan of its merger with the KP on a series of reasons.

He said that the government could influence the elected representatives from FATA and make them agree to the plan of its merger into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but the public at large wanted a separate status on the pattern of Gilgit-Baltistan or a full-fledged status of a province should be given to these areas as it would be the only way to keep the identity of these areas, the customs and values intact.

Fazl also challenged the writ of the Parliament to take such decision and said that the Parliament could only do legislation but could not take decisions on altering the geographical boundaries of the areas like the one involved in FATA reforms.

Amid ear deafening slogans and clapping, the JUI-F chief said that he and his party was long associated with the people of these areas and assured them he would not let them alone in their struggle and could go to any extent for their rights even if he has to land in jail.

Opening the window of dialogue, he once again invited the government for dialogue and asked the rulers to convince them on merger of these areas with KP or let them convince on securing A separate status for the people of these areas who had faced the brunt of war against terror and for the peace and security of the country had even migrated from their homes.

Fazl said that soon after Nine-Eleven his party had opposed joining the war of the United States and today 17 years down the road their decision had proved correct. He termed the decision of merger of FATA with KP the part II of US plan for the area and made it loud and clear that they would oppose it and would not accept any decision against the wishes of the people of these areas.

The JUI-F chief criticised his political opponents by asking them to make it clear if they were going to force the people to abide by the United States for years to come. He said that the JUI-F could not permit any front to strike a deal at the expense of Pakistan and the nation.

He asserted that he is willing to endure jail time again for not compromising over principles after he was jailed during former dictator Musharraf’s tenure.

The JUI-F chief said that he was at loss to understand why the other Pashtun leaders were keeping mum on this very sensitive issue facing the FATA people and asked them to help the people of FATA secure their rights in shape of a separate status for these areas so that they could live there with their norms and values.

When the FATA Jirga was in progress estranged Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MNA Aysha Gulalai came there to attend the event but the organisers stopped her to sit on the stage owing to the tribal norms. She agitated it and later left the venue without attending the event.

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