PESHAWAR - The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) chapter of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl  (JUI-F) announced to launch a protest against the proposed merger of the tribal areas into Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Addressing a news conference on Tuesday, JUI-F Fata chapter’s ameer, Mufti Abdul Shakoor, said his party was completely against any decision regarding future of Fata without consulting the respective tribal people. He stressed the need of taking the tribesmen on board before any decision regarding future status of Fata, adding that people would not accept changes brought in by few parliamentarians. He said the opinion of tribesmen should not be underestimated in this crucial decision.

Mufti Abdul Shakoor said the proposed merger of Fata into Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) was against the wishes of the tribal people. He announced to launch a protest movement against the move from next month.

Accompanied by Mufti Ejaz Shinwari, along-with all executive committee members of the party, Abdul Shakoor warned to strongly resist ‘any unilateral decision tried to be imposed upon the tribal people”. He went on to say that a conspiracy was being hatched to hand over control of natural and mineral resources of Fata to other people in the name of reforms and changes in the tribal region.

Mufti, while commenting on ‘FATA Reforms Committee’ formed by the federal government, said his party had already challenged the committee in parliament. He alleged that the committee did not consult tribal people, except a few pro-government local maliks and opportunists.

The JUI-F tribal leader categorically rejected the Fata Secretariat’s survey figures and procedure, conducted for merger of Fata into KP, and termed it insult of the opinion of the tribal people. He questioned that Fata was lacking all kinds of communication facilities, how it was possible to get their opinion, he questioned.

He demanded of the government that opinion of tribal people should be determined in a democratic manner, and decide about the future of Fata in light of the peoples’ decision, he added.

Abdul Shakoor also asked Fata Political Alliance to shun undemocratic way for merger of Fata into KP and anti-tribal agenda, and come on to the negotiation table to put forward the reforms process and block any plot against the people of Fata.

Later on, he announced a schedule for protest, according to which a protest rally would be held in Bajuar Agency on January 08, followed by a protest in Khyber Agency on January 15, Mohmand Agency on 29, and on February 5, in Kurram Agency.