ISLAMABAD - The Federally Administrated Tribal Areas reforms committee will soon meet in Peshawar and accommodate Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s proposals to implement the merger plan.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz - who heads the committee on the Fata reforms – said that the two main demands raised in the recent Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa cabinet meeting had already been accepted.

The reforms committee, Aziz said, had now been elevated to a Cabinet-level Implementation Committee, which includes Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief minister, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary and Corps Commander XI Corps.

“The newly-constituted Implementation Committee will hold its first meeting in Peshawar very soon and will take into account the views and proposals of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government in formulating the implementation plan for these reforms as approved by the federal cabinet on March 2nd, 2017,” said a statement released here on Friday. This month, the federal cabinet approved “mainstreaming” of the Fata, which will eventually lead to its merger into the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in five years.

Coalition partners, the Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (JUI-Fazl) and the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP), are yet to fully support the package offered by the government.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif however, believes there had been enough discussions on the topic with the stakeholders and it was about time to merge Fata into the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Sartaj Aziz had earlier said implementation of the reforms committee’s recommendation would be gradual.  He said that the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) would be repealed and replaced with new Rewaj (customs) system.

Aziz said that a high-level committee of experts, headed by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governor would finalise a ten-year socio-economic development plan for the Fata by April 30th.

He said that the National Finance Commission Award would be asked to allocate three per cent of gross federal divisible pool on annual basis for implementation of the Fata Development Plan.