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NSC endorsed merger of FATA with KP

20 May, 2018

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The National Security Committee (NSC) on Saturday endorsed the merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and ordered the relevant ministries to work out modalities in this regard.

“Weighing all the pros and cons in detail, the committee endorsed that the FATA shall be merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa along with the introduction of the administrative and judicial institutional structures and laws of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” a press statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office after the meeting stated.

As the committee deliberated the question of the merger of FATA with KP, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who chaired the meeting, apprised the huddle that his consultations with the leaders of other political parties in the parliament on the issue had reflected a broad consensus on the merger of FATA with KP. “The committee directed the ministries concerned to work out the constitutional, legal and administrative modalities for the merger in consultation with all parties in the parliament,” the statement read. The committee also endorsed the provision of additional well-monitored development funds for the FATA during the next 10 years, with the stipulation that these funds would not be re-appropriated to any other area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the statement added.

On Thursday, the federal cabinet had approved moving the 30th Amendment Bill in the parliament, reiterating the promise made by the ruling PML-N government that it intended to take Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) reforms to its logical conclusion before the tenure of the current assemblies ends. However, the ruling PML-N on Friday had failed to table the bill proposing the merger of FATA with KP in the National Assembly.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Sartaj Aziz and the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan briefed the NSC on the Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan reforms proposals. The committee reviewed these proposals from the perspective of their conformity with the aspirations of the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. After detailed deliberations, a consensus was reached on the devolution of greater administrative authority and financial powers to the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the government of Gilgit-Baltistan; retention of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Councils as advisory bodies; and the grant of a five-year tax holiday to Gilgit-Baltistan so as to create adequate incentives for the development of the region and bring it on a par with other areas of Pakistan.

The ministry of interior presented details of the measures it had formulated to liberalise the visa regime, in particular for tourists and businesspersons. Reviewing the proposals, the NSC instructed the ministry to further refine its proposals and submit those for consideration in its next meeting.

The ministry of foreign affairs briefed the committee on the regional and global security situation. The committee resolved that Pakistan would continue to play its role for peace and security in the region and beyond.

The committee expressed satisfaction on the principled stand taken by Pakistan on Kashmir and Palestine issues and its articulation at various world forums.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs Khurram Dastgir Khan, Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Miftah Ismail, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, Director General ISI Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar and senior civil and military officials.

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