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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said the government was committed to the development and progress of merged areas (erstwhile FATA).

The provision of record Rs 48 billion development funds for the merged areas by the federal government in current fiscal year despite difficult economic conditions and coronavirus demonstrated that commitment, he added.

The Prime Minister was presiding over a meeting here to the review the progress of development projects in the merged areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Chief Minister KP Mahmood Khan, Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib, Provincial Finance Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra, Members of National Assembly (MNAs) Gul Dad Khan, Gul Zafar Khan, Sajid Khan, Muhammad Iqbal Afridi, Malik Fakhar Zaman and senior officers of the federal and provincial governments were in attendance.

The meeting was told that 117 development projects have so far been approved for the merged areas which included the projects relating to education, health, communication, irrigations, sports, law and justice, agriculture, energy and clean drinking water.

It was also briefed in detail about the funds released by the federal government and spent on the development projects in merged areas.

The Prime Minister directed to accord priority to such projects for merged areas in the next budget, in consultation with local leaders and public representatives, which besides catering to the immediate needs of people would prove beneficial for the people directly and in minimum duration.

He also directed for the constitution of committee comprising representatives of the federal and provincial governments to monitor the progress of development projects and for timely realisation of the set targets.

The Prime Minister directed the public representative present in the meeting to involve the people regarding the process of ongoing development projects in the merged areas so that the development progress move forward with the support of masses.

About the provision of justice in the merged areas, he directed that special attention should be given to that aspect.

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