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FATA should be given the status of a separate province: Fazlur Rehman

05 November, 2017

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DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Opposing FATA’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said on Saturday that FATA should be given the status of a separate province.

Speaking at ‘Peace and Fuzala Conference’ in Tank district, Rehman said that a referendum should be conducted in the tribal areas to decide the future status of FATA. “JUI-F has been playing its role in maintaining peace in the region. Outsiders should not be given the right to decide the fate of tribal people. I am of the firm opinion that a referendum should be held to decide the future status of FATA instead of merging it with KP,” he said.

He said that children were murdered in drone strikes in FATA and even mosques were targeted. “This shows the barbarity that the FATA region and its people have experienced over the years,” he said.

He recalled that good decisions should have been implemented during the colonial era in the tribal region. “However, the situation in the tribal areas has not improved,” he said. “FATA people have been intentionally left backward. The people of this region and the soil itself were used against the USSR. Today, tribal people are labeled as terrorists,” he said.

Referring to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), he urged the participants to reject “foreign agents” in the elections. “People should use their right to vote in favour of Islam because the coming era belongs to the JUI-F,” he said. He said JUI-F had a brilliant role in maintaining peace and stability in the tribal region. “Peace has been established because of greater role of Madaris, but the government has double standards in dealing with seminaries,” he said.

He said that the country’s leaders and institutions didn’t produce any tangible results to restore peace and order. “A number of religious scholars have been killed so far. However, the JUI-F is still striving to spread the message of peace and love,” he said. He recalled that the government’s role was pathetic when thousands of tribesmen, women and children were displaced following military operations in the tribal region.

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