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ISLAMABAD: The Working Group on Political Affairs of Special Parliamentary Committee on Development of erstwhile Fata has decided to visit all the provinces soon to resolve the matter of allocation of three percent share in the National Finance Commission (NFC) for the newly-merged tribal districts with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

This was decided at a brainstorming session with ex-Fata representatives of political parties, youth, and journalist, organised by the Working Group on Political Affairs of Special Parliamentary Committee on Development of erstwhile Fata in the Parliament House, on Thursday.

The session was jointly chaired by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser with Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri. The NA speaker, while addressing the participants, said that implementing FATA reforms in letter and spirit would transform the region into future hub of trade, business and employment.

He urged the political parties, youth, media and religious representatives of erstwhile Fata to display bipartisanship for changing life of common people in the merged districts.

Qaiser assured his full support for the uplift of the people of the erstwhile Fata to enjoy fundamental rights of education, health, and employment.

He pointed out that the tribal districts are areas through which all landlocked countries of Central Asia and Afghanistan can have access to deep seaport of Gwadar as well as Karachi port.

He further stated that peace in Fata is imperative for progress and development of the country. Noorul Haq Qadri briefed the participants about the terms of reference (ToRs) of the special parliamentary committee on development of erstwhile Fata and appreciated the commitment of the speaker National Assembly for resolving post-merger challenges of ex-Fata.

He also said that this is the third meeting organised by working the group on political affairs to evolve consensus on land, judicial, infrastructure development, and allocation of three percent share in the NFC for the development projects in the merged districts.

He said that basic health facilities, education and basic infrastructure are rights of people of ex-Fata and being public representatives, it is the duty of the parliamentarians to enable people of the ex-Fata to enjoy these rights.

He also shared with the participants that the special parliamentary committee and working group would soon visit all provinces and would try to build consensus for agreeing on the three percent share of NFC for development of ex-Fata as promised prior to its merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Establishment Arbab Shahzad, while briefing the participants appreciated the formulation of the parliamentary committee and also highlighted post-merger challenges to the people of ex-Fata.

He said that the merger was a milestone to change the fate of the common people. He said that the ex-Fata has been badly impacted area due to the "war on terror" and now is a time to change the fate of its people. He said that transition issues are reality and resolving these need political ownership.

He added that the judicial system is new to people of the merged districts, beside land disputes, settlement matters, mines and mineral and establishment of the Fata development authority.

He also pointed out that people are facing problems due to absence of municipal services in the merged districts, adding that these can be introduced with little finance by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government.

Representatives of the political parties, media and civil society from the merged districts also shared their views with the regard to the post-merger challenges and problems being faced by the people.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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