Merger with KP is FATA’s destiny
It is Pakistan’s misfortune that, at a time when the trend is towards semi-autonomous regions seeking separation from the mother country, as in the cases of Scotland, Catalonia and Kurds of Iraq, the fervent desire of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas’ (FATA) people for an immediate union with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is being callously delayed by the federal government. The latter approved the merger and abolition of the hated Frontier Crimes Regulations on March 2, 2017, but the measure still awaits implementation, despite numerous protests and outcries, the latest being Monday’s sit-in by thousands of tribesmen, nearly all political parties and FATA legislators. Except for two regional parties, the majority of stakeholders are convinced that the KP umbrella and extension of the superior court’s jurisdiction to FATA are the only way to overcome a medieval backwardness and widespread poverty, and also to enjoy the common benefits accruing to citizens of settled areas.
Who are the spoilsports obstructing this almost universally yearned for union? The spanner in the works is the ideologically opposite duo of Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pashtun nationalist Mahmood Achakzai, unfortunately for self-serving political motives, but by their opposition they are playing with the lives and future of five million FATA tribesmen. As they are indiscriminating allies of the ruling PML(N) in all causes, right or wrong, the latter isobviously reluctant to cross them,and is likely submitting tamely to their wishes in the FATA merger. Both want a separate FATA identity, the JUI(F) for gaining political hegemony and the PkMAP for increasing its parliamentary seats through another Pashtun electorate.
An immediate KP-FATA merger is imperative and the federal government must provide necessary development funds to lift FATA out of its primitive backwardness. After German unification, the more prosperous capitalist Western half spent nearly Euros 1.3 trillion in 20 years on the upliftment of its ‘poor relation’,the ex-communist Eastern part, and is still pumping in 70 to 80 billion Euros a year in subsidies to bring it at par with the rest of Germany. A good example of generosity to follow in FATA.