PESHAWAR: With the merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), the approval of the Annual Development Programme (ADP) of Fata is no longer under the jurisdiction of the K-P governor. In addition to this, the Fata Development Working Party (FDWP) carries no legal standing.
FDWP, the highest forum for scrutinising and approving developmental projects in former Fata, was scheduled to hold a meeting on Wednesday but it was postponed since the forum does not have legal standing anymore after the merger.
The Fata Planning and Development Secretary pointed towards the legal status of FDWP in his comments on plan for Fata merger, addressing the additional chief secretary Fata. Along with this matter, he also highlighted the approval of the Annual Development Programme (ADP), scrutiny of projects and the future of Fata Planning and Development Department (P&DD) along with its employees and its role.
The FDWP’s relevance ceased to exist after the merger. Therefore, PDWP becomes the appropriate forum to conduct the scrutiny of the projects of the Fata ADP. But for the time being, the projects scrutiny shall remain with Fata P&DD. The relevant sections can be called for representation and inputs in meetings.
According to officials privy to the meeting, the secretary in his recommendations, states that PDWP should be the approval forum, and FDWP and Fata Development Committee (FDC) should be de-notified. However, FDWP and FDC may function till June 30 2018, officials informed.
“Earlier the ADP was approved by the K-P Governor, the approval forum for the FDWP (Up to Rs0.4 billion approval ceiling) replaced by the PDWP, and FDC under the Governor, with ceilings for approval raised to Rs1billion, now to be also abolished and replaced by PDWP,” said another senior official of the Fata secretariat.
The official added that the ADP approval by the provincial assembly was a process in K-P while in Fata, the ADP was approved by the governor as an agent to the President, under article 246 and 247.
“Now the approval process for Fata ADP has to be defined, and it has to go to K-P assembly, but there are no Fata parliamentarians in K-P assembly as yet, the provincial cabinet will have to approve ADP for this year for K-P and Fata,” the official informed.
“The 10 Year Fata development plan funding is reflected in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) and will have to be sent to Central Development Working Party (CDWP) for approval,” he said adding ‘but Fata ADP has no such issue and can be approved by the PDWP.’
Officials from the Fata secretariat stated that it was suggested the ADP for Fata from now on will be approved by the provincial cabinet or provincial assembly K-P, adding that the governor’s committee on the 10 year Fata development plan should be amended and lead role should be given to K-P government.
Regarding the staff of the Fata P&D, it was suggested that it should be merged in K-P’s Provincial Planning Cadre or internal audit cell or relevant cadres.
“The P&D department Fata staff list has been shared with the K-P P&D department and the staff should be merged in K-P Provincial Planning Cadre or internal audit cell or relevant service cadres,” the official informed adding ‘this process should be expedited at all levels while project staff regularisation for pivotal projects being done in K-P should also include Fata staff.’
Regarding the future of P&D department Fata, it was suggested that it will remain in Fata secretariat and the moment Fata secretariat was abolished, the Fata P&D should start reporting to K-P additional chief secretary. Furthermore, P&D should be retained for the duration of the 10-year development plan, either in Fata Secretariat or in K-P P&D. The K-P integrated development strategy will have to cover Fata as well, the official shared.