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Friday, April 12, 2024

PM Khan’s statement on tribal reforms: Slap on the face for PTM

Prime Minster Imran Khan has said on Monday that his government is aware of, and ready to, fulfill all the commitments it made with the people of tribal areas, erstwhile, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

News Analysis |

In a meeting with a delegation of senators and members of the National Assembly (MNAs) coming from merged tribal areas, the prime minister said the people of tribal areas had rendered numerous sacrifices and faced immense hardships, said PM Office statement. The delegation comprised senators Hidayatullah Khan, Momin Khan Afridi, Mirza Muhammad Afridi, Sajjad Hussain Turi, Aurangzeb Khan and Ayub Afridi and MNAs Gul Dad Khan, Sajjad Khan, Muhammad Iqbal Khan, Jawad Hussain and Religious Affairs Minister Pir Nurul Haq Qadri.

The PM assured the members of the delegation that the PTI shall not disappoint the people of periphery. This is a slap on the face of so-called rights movement, Pashtun Protection Movement (PTM), which has been using identity cards by mobilizing people due to under-development against the state institutions. The latest assurance by the prime minister is deeply disturbing for everyone who did desire no development in the area to carry out RAW-sponsored activities.

Our people in the tribal area will see unprecedented development as [the] government plans to spend over Rs100 billion annually for 10 years in tribal districts.”

PM announced on 23rd April that the federal government will provide all possible health, education and development facilities to impoverished people of tribal areas. PM Khan was addressing a public gathering in Waziristan.  The premier announced that the people of tribal areas will get health cards for free medical care, high-speed internet, new roads, small dams and energy projects.

On 13th May, the National Assembly (NA) on Monday unanimously approved the 26th Constitution Amendment Bill seeking an increase in the number of seats for the erstwhile Fata in the NA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. Under the bill, the number of NA seats from former FATA has been increased to 12 from six. In the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, seats have been increased to 24 from 16.

Read more: Rs100bn Fata development plan: PTM’s deafening silence

It is pertinent to mention here that the premier earlier announced that PTI’s government plans to spend over Rs100 billion annually for 10 years in the newly-merged tribal districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). This move marks the beginning of a new era in previously FATA, containing 2.4% of Pakistan’s population, areas of Pakistan

The premier tweeted: “Living up to our commitment, a three-week consultative process on a 10 year-long development plan for former FATA is being initiated, starting from Bajaur. Our people in the tribal area will see unprecedented development as [the] government plans to spend over Rs100 billion annually for 10 years in tribal districts.”

Experts argue that several military operations to eliminate terrorists from the tribal areas have adversely affected socio-cultural settings of the area. Therefore, the incumbent needs an overall reform package in order to upgrade the damaged system of governance and the rule of law.

Salman Bangash, Assistant Professor at the Department of History, University of Peshawar, believes that “the historic constitutional and legislative changes that have brought about Fata’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are a first step in the right direction, but due to complexities, intricacies and numerous hurdles, it will be a gigantic task to implement them”. “Major problems and challenges,” argues Mr. Bangash, “of such implementation include modification and changes to the prevailing tribal administrative set-up and to the role and responsibilities of existing officials and various tribal forces such as the Levies Force and Khasadars.”