The Pakistan Government on 2 March 2017 approved the merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. The step was taken to bring the impoverished and politically deprived tribal region at par with the rest of the country.
Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan, presided a meeting of the federal cabinet, which approved in principle the recommendations of the FATA Reforms Committee. The Committee includes the merger of the tribal areas with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and repeal of the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR).
The recommendation to merge Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with the FATA was made by the six-member committee headed by Sartaj Aziz, PM’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs.
The Government, in addition, also approved a 10-year reform package to bring the tribal region on a par with other developing areas of the country.
- The development package, worth more than Pakistani Rupees 110 billion, has been approved for the seven agencies of the tribal region.
- Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Peshawar High Court will be extended to FATA.
- Introduction of Local Government system, education and jobs opportunities for youth and up-gradation of Levis Force are part of the 24-point FATA reforms. However, LG polls will be held after 2018 general elections.
What is Federally Administered Tribal Areas?
- The Federally Administered Tribal Areas is a semi-autonomous tribal region in northwestern Pakistan.
- The region borders Pakistan’s provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan to the east and south, and Afghanistan’s provinces of Kunar, Nangarhar, Paktia, Khost and Paktika to the west and north.
- The FATA consists of seven tribal agencies and six frontier regions. They are directly governed by Pakistan’s federal government through a special set of laws called the FCR.
- The territory is almost exclusively inhabited by the Pashtuns.
About Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is one of the four provinces of Pakistan.
- It is located in the northwestern region of the nation.
- The province was formerly known as North-West Frontier Province.
- Its provincial capital and largest city is Peshawar.
- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa shares borders with the FATA to the west; Gilgit–Baltistan to the northeast; Azad Kashmir, Islamabad and Punjab to the east and southeast.
- The province also shares an international border with Afghanistan, connected through the Khyber Pass.
- It is the third largest province of Pakistan by the size of both population and economy. However, the province is geographically the smallest of four provinces.