Basic facilities more important for Fata than merger: PM

LANDI KOTAL: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that provision of basic facilities to the people of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) was more important than merging the region with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Addressing a tribal gathering at Jamrud sub-division of Khyber Agency after inaugurating a 132kv grid station, he said that better education and health facilities, road infrastructure, gas and electricity and all other basic facilities enjoyed by the residents of major cities of Pakistan was also a basic legal and constitutional right of the people of Fata.
“These are our initial targets and priorities for which the federal government is trying to explore and provide financial resources and we have made estimates of Rs100 billion for the overall development of Fata,” he added.
The prime minister informed the tribal gathering that hectic consultations were under way with all the parliamentary parties to find a consensus on the Fata reforms process that he said was a continuous process and could not be completed in a day or two.

Mr Abbasi reminded the tribal gathering that both houses of parliament had already passed the bill regarding extension of jurisdiction of both the Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court and people of Fata would have the right of appeal to the superior judiciary once a judicial and police system was established in the region.
He said that the financial powers of the political administration had also been considerably curtailed with the abolition of Agency Development Fund and the Rahdari system which was an additional financial burden on the people of Fata and was grossly misused by the political administrations.
He said that all the political parties were united in the government desire to initiate massive development in Fata prior to practically implementing the merger plan. “The implementation of this huge development plan will be initiated during the next financial year,” he added.
Earlier, the prime minister inaugurated the 132kv Jamrud grid station which was completed at a cost of Rs786 million.
Mr Abbasi urged the tri­besmen to help in curtailing the Tribal Areas Elec­tricity Supply Company’s losses so that duration of loadshedding could also be reduced.
He was told on the occasion that apart from improving the power supply system in Khyber Agency, the new grid station would also help generate more employment opportunities.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, National Assembly’s deputy speaker Murtaza Abbasi, Minister of State for Safron Ghalib Khan, MNA Shah Jee Gul and officials of Khyber Agency’s political administration were also present on the occasion.