TQK
Members of Takra Qabaili Khwiade (TQK) -- Brave Tribal Sisters participating in Fata's merger rally (PHOTO: TQK Facebook page)

Islamabad — Thousands of KP and Fata’s people including youth, political parties members, leaders and a number of women rallied at D-Chowk in Islamabad on Monday demanding immediate merger of the tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Leaders and workers of major political parties like Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Awami National Party (ANP), Jamat Islami (JI), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Qoumi Watan Party (QWP) alongside Fata’s youth and students were participating in the Fata’s merger rally.

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F) has not joined the rally for mainstreaming Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

Fata Rally
Thousands of Fata’s and KP people participated in the rally.

The rally participants demand to abolish the Frontier Crimes Law (FCR) in Fata, merger with KP, representation in KP’s provincial assembly and jurisdiction of Supreme Court in the tribal areas.

PPP Fata’s leader Akhunzada Chattan said that Fata has no peace because the human rights of tribal people were violated. “There is havoc in Fata,” he said, adding that the government is yet to announce a budget for Fata.

ANP’s president Asfandyar Wali Khan was leading his party’s workers in the rally. “The decision to merge Fata with KP has been made by the people of Fata,” he said asking the government to have “mercy” and abolish the Frontier Crimes Regulation.

FATA MPs and PM
Fata’s MPs meeting the Prime Minister at his office.

“More than 90% of Fata’s people want to merge the tribal areas with KP,” Mian Iftikhar Hussain, ANP leader said as thousands of protesters shouted slogans such as “Go FCR Go,” and “Merger of FATA with KP”.

Participants including women have come from different areas of Fata and KP. Fata parliamentarians including Shaji Gul of Khyber Agency and Shahbudding of Bajaur Agency have announced to end the sit-in after negotiating with the prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

They said the prime minister promised them to accept their demands. Amir Muqam of the ruling party announced to end sit-in.

FATA Youth
Youth participating in the rally

However, the youth refused to end sit-in. Fata Students Organizations (FSO) president Shaukat Aziz told Tribal Post that the politicians doing politics over Fata reforms for their own personal and political interests.

“We will continue sit-in till President Mamnoon Hussain signs the Fata merger into law,” he said adding that more youth have to join them at D-Chowk.

Demands for the merger have been gaining momentum since Aug 2016, when a six-member committee had tabled a report before the cabinet that majority of Fata’s people demand merger with KP.

The report had generated controversy when two allies of the federal government – JUI-F and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party – opposed the committee report.