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Elders demand restoration of ex-FATA's separate status in Pakistan

ANI | Updated: Jun 28, 2021 17:02 IST

Bajaur Agency [Pakistan], June 28 (ANI): Expressing their dissatisfaction with the merger of former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA's) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, elders has demanded the restoration of separate status of the region as no visible change was seen in the lives of people even after three years.
Dawn reported that elders opposed to the former FATA's merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Sunday demanded of the federal government to reverse the decision and restore the separate status of the region forthwith as no visible change was seen in the lives of people even after lapse of three years since the merger took place.
They made the demand during a jirga (meeting) of Bajaur Qaumi Ittihad held in Qazafi area here. The gathering was the second such meeting of the body representing elders opposed to the merger during the current month.
Chief of Utmankhel tribe Malik Mohammad Akbar, chief of Mamond tribe Malik Mohammad Ayaz Khan, Malik Mohammad Nawaz Khan, Malik Mohammad Shah, Malik Faqir Khan, Malik Shaheen Khan, Malik Tahseel Khan, Malik Abdul Nasar Khan, Malik Hifzur Rahman, Malik Daftar Khan and Malik Tahir Khan spoke on the occasion.
The elders said they had always opposed the so-called integration of the region with the province as they believed the plan was nothing else but to destroy the separate status of erstwhile FATA and occupy its natural resources.

Earlier in June, a black day was observed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against the 'unnatural' and 'unconstitutional' merger of erstwhile FATA into the province. Scores of Khyber Qaumi Jirga (KQJ), an anti-merger body, supporters, mostly tribal elders and a handful of political workers had demonstrated at the historic Bab-i-Khyber.
The protest was staged on the completion of three years of the merger, Dawn reported.
The FATA, which consisted of seven tribal agencies (districts) and six frontier regions, was merged with neighbouring province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2018.
The tribesmen had protested against the merger of the tribal belt into Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Addressing the protesters, KQJ leader Haji Bismillah Afridi declared that the so-called merger was imposed on the tribal people without ascertaining their consent and without fulfilling the constitutional obligation of convening a representative grand jirga of all the tribal elders from the seven tribal regions.
He said the KQJ and its supporters would not accept the merger as it was done in violation of the promises made by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah with the people of former Fata regarding the future status of their region.
Afridi added that the merger had further complicated the situation in tribal areas as there was chaos everywhere due to ambiguity about the powers and limitations of different government departments. (ANI)