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Federal Cabinet decides in principle to bring FATA into mainstream

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Members of FATA Reforms Committee addressing a Joint Press Conference in Islamabad on March 2, 2017

ISLAMABAD:(APS)March 3, 2017-Federal Cabinet has, in principle, approved recommendations of FATA Reforms Committee for mainstreaming of FATA in five years in consultation with all stakeholders.

Cabinet meeting was held in Islamabad today under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Later, briefing newsmen, Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, who was Chairman of the Committee, said necessary constitutional amendments would be made to enable people of FATA to elect their representatives to the KP Assembly for 2018 general elections.

Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) would be repealed and replaced with new Rewaj system.

The recommendations also include the target date for repatriation of all TDPs as 30th of April this year while reconstruction activities would be completed by 2018.

A high level committee of experts would be formed with KP Governor as its head to prioritize preparation of a ten year socio-economic development plan for FATA by 30th of April this year.

NFC would be requested to consider making allocations of 3% of gross federal divisible pool on annual basis for implementation of the Fata Development Plan.  This would be in addition to existing annual PSDP of 21 billion rupees.

Thirty percent allocations under FATA Development Plan would go to local bodies.

FATA Development Authority would be reorganized under a Chief Operating Officer in BS-22 to supervise and coordinate reconstruction phase.

A Governor’s Advisory Council consisting of Senators and MNAs from FATA would be formed to assist the Governor in carrying out development and administrative functions.

Permits of Rahdari for export and import in FATA would be abolished to eliminate largescale corruption and bring down prices of essential items.

Auditor-General would ensure that development funds and other expenditure of local bodies in FATA are properly audited to ensure efficient utilization.

Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court would be extended to FATA through an act of parliament.

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State Bank of Pakistan would encourage establishment of more branches of banks in FATA.

Land settlement in FATA would be planned and undertaken in consultation with stakeholders.

Proper coverage of BISP, Bait-ul-Mal and micro financing would be ensured in FATA.

Quota of students from FATA in educational and health institutions in other provinces would be doubled and retained for ten years integration with KP.

Replying to a question Sartaj Aziz said implementation of the recommendation would be gradual.

Minister for States and Frontier Regions Qadir Baloch said FATA people did not get empowerment for 67 years and for the first time they would get their rights.

FATA representatives would be included in the advisor committee and therefore, would have a say in making decisions and implementing plans for development.

He said after five years, FATA would be completely merged with KP but the Federal Government would continue to provide funding for FATA Development Plan for ten years. About one hundred and ten billion rupees would be spent for development of FATA annually for ten years. Steps would be taken to bring FATA at par with other areas of the country.

The Minister said FATA would not be allowed to be made controversial and black law of FCR would be abolished.

He said additional posts of levies would be established in FATA.

KPK Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra said 85% of IDPs have returned to their homes and the process would be completed before June this year.

He said approval of reforms is a historic decision that would change the fate of people of FATA

The cabinet also recommended that connectivity of FATA with China Pakistan Economic Corridor should be ensured at suitable locations.

The six-member committee headed by Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs was constituted in November 2015 for political mainstreaming of FATA.  The committee held meetings with all the stakeholders and consulted over 3500 tribal Maliks and elders in all the seven Agencies in FATA and the Frontier Regions. The Committee’s recommendations were also discussed in detail in the parliament and received positive response.

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