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Increase in number of ex-FATA’s NA seats: Political consensus termed prerequisite – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: New legislative bill to increase National Assembly seats for ex-FATA is on the cards, while political consensus is a pre-condition to push the area to an era of prosperity.

This was revealed during a meeting of erstwhile FATA and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa public representatives which met to formulate recommendations for Ex-FATA development, here on Wednesday.

Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, while chairing the meeting, said that prosperity and development in ex-FATA will bring prosperity for common man of the area. He said that changing environment of the ex-FATA region is interlinked with political consensus.

Speaker Qaiser said that opinion of all the stakeholders was required to bring FATA out of challenges after merger. He said, “Ex-FATA needs special consideration, especially in the context of the changing situation in Afghanistan”. He ensured that they will continue to make FATA, a prosperous region.

He also briefed the participants about three working groups, which were made under Committee on Development of FATA. He said that national support is also compulsory for provision of fundamental necessities to the people of FATA.

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri said that political consensus and political input is imperative to resolve the issue of the NFC and seats of the National Assembly. He also informed the participants about new projects of digitalization of land record in the whole KPK province.

Senator Haji Ayub Afridi said that provision of basic health education required funding and change in policy approach.

MNA Dr Haider Ali appreciated the efforts of Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser and recommended for increasing federal cooperation for three percent share in NFC.

MPA Naeema Asharat remarked the spirit of political inclusion was behind merger of FATA. She mentioned about the stalled bill in Senate regarding seats in National Assembly. She also raised objection regarding census method in the FATA.

MNA Jawad Hussain said it is the right of the FATA people to have three percent share of NFC for FATA development. He also mentioned about stalled bill for FATA seats need to be looked into.

MNA Khalid Hussain Magsi said that after the merger, FATA is now under the constitution. He said that politicization should be discouraged.

MNA Fakhar Zaman said that promise of hundred billion allocation of funds for FATA development is still in doldrums. He also said that three percent share of NFC should be a priority.

MNA Gulzafar Khan said that there are two major issues: funding and seats in National Assembly.

MNA Gul Dad Khan said that ex-FATA has faced negative effects of the turmoil in Afghanistan. He said that situation in FATA would affect the development of the whole country. He said that 12 seats of Ex-FATA should be sustained. He said that census in FATA should be on de facto basis. He also said that special quota system should also be maintained for FATA people.

MNA Muhammad Iqbal Khan said that the tribes’ interest should be prioritised. He said that tribes are facing issues in land record matters. He recommended for land record reforms to be initiated at the earliest. He asked for funding from federal government for development in FATA. He also said that functionalization of judicial system in FATA is imperative to maintain peace in the region.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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