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Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak has said his government has a categorical stance on the merger of FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak has said his government has a categorical stance on the merger of FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa adding that the plan approved by the federal government for the merger would complicate the situation. Pakistan was not created in phases. Did the merger of other princely states take place in phases, he questioned. He was talking to a delegation of senators and MNAs and other elders of tribal areas at Chief Minister Secretariat Peshawar. The delegation included MNAs Nasir Khan, Al-Haj Shahji Gul, Gulab Jamal Khan, Bismillah, Senator Momeen Khan and others. The Chief Minister said that he would accept the total merger of FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which he added was the best available option in the given circumstances. The existing scheme of things thrashed out by the federal government would breed unnecessary irritants. A mere participation in the election and the subsequent elected members to the provincial assembly was not a logical solution. The province would provide share for the developmental strategy but the power would be exercised by the agent of federation. If the governor would call the shots even after the merger there was a danger that two governments would run parallel. How is it possible, he added. We have one dedicated Secretariat which previously performed for both the areas and therefore creating another secretariat was uncalled for. The existing secretariat of the province has the capacity to take care of both the areas, he added. The Chief Minister reminded he had raised serious reservations over the federal cabinet decision for the phased devolution adding that it would start a new tug of war for power. His government wanted to strengthen the collective voice of the people of the tribal areas. He said that how it can be possible that an elected MPA would have no say in the legislation and amendments and would not be accountable in the whole process that is beyond understanding. He said that a very simple plan for the merger was rather complicated that was undesirable. We have an open heart and we have a transparent plan for the future of the province. If the merger is to take place then it has to take place in totality and not partially or phase wise. It was very simple if we are sincere to the merger, just extend the country’s laws and system of governance including the local government plan to the tribal areas who are accustomed to these laws and system. This is what the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa wants the federal government to do. Pervez Khattak stressed against new experimentation for the merger of FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Both FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could not afford new experimentation. It should not be taken as a pilot project. We have a clear stance that a decision to the merger should reflect the aspirations of the people of FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and a total merger was the best solution. It is not the right approach to bulldoze the collective and majority opinion. The federal government should understand as to how two parallel governments could be run after the merger when the provincial Chief Executive would have one plan and that would be obstructed by an agent of the federation. Regarding the FATA reforms, he said he had already spoken out his mind about it at different forums including Apex committee. Any knee jerk reaction and delay would harm the whole process and defeat the spirit of reforms in FATA adding that the existing judicial system could be extended there as the required strength of FC for policing was promised by Frontier Constabulary. Then the question for delay and the partial merger does not arise. The Chief Minister called upon the elected representatives to make their own decisions for their own future. They should see the provincial government recommendations and develop a consensus after that we would move within the constitution to get our rights. It is a very sensitive issue and should not be left at the back burner. “The sooner we decide the better it is”. However he asked the parliamentarians and elders to reach at consensus for making a better strategy for their future and their people. He said we ought to make Pakistan strong and stable through our collective efforts. If we stand disunited, it will create ills and make us weak and this could be exploited by the external enemies to interfere in our affairs but if we stand united we would get stronger and would defeat the terrorism and other ills and we would make better decisions for our future. He reminded that we could better understand our own problems others cannot reach to the level of our understanding of our problems adding that the existing structure should be extended to the FATA and if the need is, we can make special legislations on need basis for special circumstances. There was no constitutional bar on the merger of FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The reforms process should take place with consensus and anything above this plan would not be acceptable both to the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal. He said that what he planned was empowering the tribal as per the devolution plan of the province. His government wanted an even playing field to all. He appreciated the willingness of the parliamentarians of tribal area that was a rare case in the history of the country adding that he fully understood the concerns and the sentiments of the elected representatives and assured full backing in the struggle for the complete merger of FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. <><><><><><><><><>