Annual pledged funds of Rs100b could not be ensured for merged districts since 2018; FATA Grand Alliance announces to meet governor, move to Islamabad for demands.
PESHAWAR - While the erstwhile FATA region was merged into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the merged districts are yet to receive the pledged amount of Rs100 billion and other incentives as had been assured at the time of the merger.
The Parliament in May 2018 made a constitutional amendment, merging seven tribal agencies and six frontier regions (FRs) into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The tribal agencies which were made settled districts included Khyber, Mohmand, Bajaur, North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Orakzai, and Kurram while the six frontier regions that were made part of the nearest settled districts included Hassankhel (Peshawar), Darra Adamkhel (Kohat), Jandola (Tank), Janikhel (Bannu), Darazinda (DI Khan) and Bettani (Lakki Marwat).
The then KP government, military leadership and certain other stakeholders were on the same page with regard to the FATA merger, many tribal elders got together and formed FATA Grand Alliance, which started activism against the FATA-KP merger.
On Thursday, the FATA Grand Alliance held a Jirga in Peshawar where a Shura was formed, comprising 16 members.
Speaking to this correspondent, FATA Grand Alliance chief Malik Marjan said that the 16-member Shura would soon meet Governor Ghulam Ali and later they would also go to Islamabad to meet the Prime Minister to discuss the issues of non-provision of the pledged funds to the merged districts and other issues.
“Since the year 2018 so far, merged districts should have been provided Rs440 billion. But so far, only Rs46 billion have been provided,” Malik Marjan said.
He further said that during the several years of PTI government in both the Centre and province, the tribal districts were ignored. “Once the former prime minister Imran Khan visited FATA along with the KP Chief Minister and asked us, the tribal elders, which projects we needed. We raised the demand of a cadet college and medical college plus universities in the tribal districts. However no demand was fulfilled,” the tribal elder said.
He also said that with the merger of FATA into KP, the six MNA seats of the tribal districts were finished while the region also lost seats in the Senate. He said the erstwhile FATA also lost their seats in educational institutions with the merger, which he termed a loss for the tribal folks.
PPP Khyber Pakhtunkhwa spokesman Amjad Afridi said that PTI’s provincial government failed to get the pledged funds of merged districts from their own government in the centre for several years in the past.
“They (KP government) even did not get funds of KP from their allies in Islamabad during their tenure. How they can question the incumbent government now?” he questioned.
On the other hand, KP government spokesman Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif told The Nation that the incumbent federal government is currently hurdling provision of funds to KP.
To a query about the federation’s provision of funds during the former PTI government, he said that he did not have figures of how much funds were provided to merged districts annually during the PTI government but that he did not agree with the claim of tribal elders that PTI did not give funds for the merged districts.
On the other hand, some tribal elders also believe that the funds, pledged for merged districts, should be used through a separate account, and not through the KP government. They believe that KP itself faces financial issues and it may not be possible for it to develop merged districts, which is why the merger plan is opposed by many tribal elders.