Islamabad - Local bodies’ elections in the Federally Administrative Tribal Areas will be held in October while elections in the tribal belt for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly will be held in April 2019.

If approved by the Parliament, under the FATA reforms bill which will allow the merger the Fata into KP, the existing number of Fata’s National Assembly seats (12) will remain intact, however, the tribal belt will be allocated NA seats as part of KP province for the next 2023elections, according to documents on the FATA reforms bill available with The Nation.

A presentation on the FATA reforms/merger with KP had already been given to the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The cabinet was updated about the prime minister’s meeting with parliamentary leaders on May 7 on the Fata reforms initiative and the decisions endorsed during those meeting.

According to the documents, the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) will be repealed through a presidential regulation which will provide for a system of justice during the transition period of one-year. Local bodies elections will be held in FATA in October, while elections in FATA for the KP provincial assembly by April 2019.

It was informed that senators currently elected from Fata will complete their tenure in the Senate in 2021 and 2024, respectively.

In addition to development funds currently allocated for Fata (Rs24 billion), Rs 100 billion will be specifically apportioned through NFC award for the next 10 years to bring Fata as par with the rest of the country.

Last week, the National Security Committee meeting held with PM Abbasi in the chair, endorsed the merger of Fata into KP. The merger will help in the introduction of administrative and judicial structures and laws for FATA. There was also a consensus among all major political parties, except for the JUI-F and PkMAP,  about the Fata merger with KP. JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman and PkMAP chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai are opposing the merger plan.

On Saturday, leaders of opposition parties and Fata lawmakers met in the National Assembly speaker’s chamber to discuss the Fata reforms bill. It was agreed at the meeting that the leaders would meet on the matter again today (Monday). The bill is likely to be placed before the Parliament for approval during the current week.