FATA-KP merger only sustainable option, says Imran


–Urges government to start merger process by 2018

Nawaz using PML-N to pit institutions against each other

PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Friday urged the federal government to speed up the process of integration of the Federal Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), saying “[there is] no other option but to merge it with KP”.

While addressing a press conference in Peshawar, he said the process of merger must start by 2018, as “KP is ready administratively and economically for the merger. It has the best local government system ready to implement that can ensure development and progress in the area”. A delay in the merger is akin to providing incentives to anti-state elements for creating unrest in the region, he added.

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

The PTI chief claimed that the KP-FATA merger was being reversed because of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chairman Mahmood Achakzai and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman, adding that Achakzai’s rhetoric is about benefitting Afghanistan as he has no stakes in FATA.

He said the merger of the tribal areas with the province would be the depiction of people’s wishes, adding that the people of FATA share the same language, norms and culture with the people of KP.

Imran criticised the current system in FATA, saying the system is anti-people as it has only been kept intact to support the status-quo, which has given rise to rampant corruption in the region.

While taking a jibe at former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Imran said: “Nawaz is not fighting for any rights rather he is trying to hide his corruption.”

He said Nawaz Sharif is using the PML-N to create a rift between country’s institutions, adding that “though the PML-N is trying its best, I don’t see martial law in the future.”

Furthermore, he said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has lost moral standing and the damage done by the party can only be contained by calling early elections.

During the occasion, former JUI-F district general secretary Mufti Sajjad also announced to join the PTI.

On October 2, the PTI chief said in a presser that he was being compared to the most corrupt man [Nawaz Sharif] in the country, adding the propaganda was being created against him and his case was being portrayed in the same light as that of Nawaz Sharif. “They think that if Nawaz is a thief, then Imran Khan must be one as well,” he added.

“I am ready for accountability,” he said, adding that he has submitted his money trail to the Supreme Court. “I have submitted all the documents pertaining to the money I earned abroad for 20 years,” said the PTI chief.

On the other hand, the Sharif family has failed to provide any details of their properties. “Nawaz Sharif’s children became millionaires at a young age,” PTI chief reiterated.

Imran alleged that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government is protecting the country’s biggest thief. “They are destroying democracy. They have formed a law to protect a criminal,” he said referring to the Electoral Reforms Bill 2017.