Preparations for FATA merger process on fast track

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  • SAFRON minister announces annulment of ruthless FC regulation in FATA within week

ISLAMABAD: Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON), Abdul Qadir Baloch Friday said preparations for Federally Administrative Tribal Areas (FATA) merger were going on fast track and announcement of the merger could take a year or two.

“Merger is not possible without complete preparation; however, the government is trying hard to complete the preparation and announce the merger during its tenure, because it had work hard on the process so it wanted to take credit of this historical decision,” the minister said while addressing a press conference here Friday.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Sartaj Aziz was also present on the occasion.

He said presently, there were not any administrative, financial or political hurdles in the way of the merger, and the government was fully implementing all the recommendations made by the FATA Reforms Committee in January 2017.

Abdul Qadir Baloch said the government was committed to abolishing the black law of Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) of FATA on priority, as it denied the residents the right to appeal to any court for a change in conviction, the right to legal representation and the right to present reasoned evidence.

Sartaj Aziz said the government was presenting a bill in this regard in the National Assembly on December 11, which was likely to be approved by the NA and then it would be finally approved by the Senate later next week.

He said in order to mainstream FATA economically, a committee was formed which had almost completed its work and it would present its report before National Economic Council by the end the of the current month.

He said three per cent of the federal divisible pool would be set aside for FATA for next week—which amounted to around Rs100 billion per year. He said this allocation would be spent on various development projects in health, education, water, energy and other projects for socio-economic development of the people of the area.

Sartaj Aziz informed that the government had also planned to expand Levy force, which, according to the plan, would be given the status of police at a later stage.

He said the process of recruiting additional 20,000 personnel in Levy force would be finalised within 2-3 months, and the recruitment process was being held under Frontier Corps.

Abdul Qadir Baloch informed that the Rahdari system in FATA was also being abolished from January 1, 2018. He said under this system, heavy taxes were imposed on any commodity being transported from other parts of the country to FATA.

He said a council of advisory had been formed comprising of members of FATA in National Assembly and Senate, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor would be bound to implement the advice of this committee.

Furthermore, he added, that from today, FATA’s additional chief secretary had been assigned the role of FATA chief operating officer to control the issues of the area.

He said in health and education sectors of FATA, there were 2,293 vacant posts, out of which, 1,440 posts had been sanctioned while the remaining would be sanctioned within 15 days.

The minister said the government was not delaying any project, as it had sufficient funds of Rs80 billion for the current fiscal year.

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