MPs support merging FATA with Pakhtunkhwa

PESHAWAR – The parliamentarians and intelligentsia extended full support to the passage of the proposed 22nd Amendment from the parliament allowing merging of the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) into Pakthunkhwa province and amendments in the FCR.

This was the gist of a seminar organized by the Centre for Governance and Public Accountability (CGPA) titled 22nd Constitutional Amendment and FATA Governance Reforms. The seminar was attended by MNA Shahriyar Afridi, former MNA Munir Orakzai, Right to Services Commission Chief Commissioner Azmat Hanif Orakzai, Advocate Ijaz Mohmand, Advocate Karimullah Mehsud, Professor Noreen Naseer and CGPA Executive Director Muhammad Anwar.

The CGPA executive director gave a detailed presentation on the 22nd constitutional amendment and sought extension of the ambit of the superior courts to the tribal areas besides making the Federally Administered Tribal Areas as part of the Pakhtunkhwa province. Munir Orakzai also fully supported the merging of FATA into Pakhtunkhwa. He stated that there was also a plan to make tribal agencies part of settled districts of the province.

Ijaz Mohmand presented the historical perspective on FATA reforms and also the need of ending FCR in FATA. He termed the 22nd constitutional amendment a big step forward in the right direction. Noreen Naseer - a professor at Peshawar University's Political Science Department - stated that FATA should be merged with Pakhtunkhwa instead of being first transformed to PATA.

She was also of the opinion that sooner or later, all tribal areas would have the proper tax regime as in rest of Pakistan. Azmat Hanif Orakzai stressed the need for introducing local government system in FATA and extending Freedom of Ordinance to FATA. Karimullah discussed the current reforms in FATA from a legal point of view.