Army wants to mainstream Fata before its merger with KP, says Safron minister

Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Abdul Qadir Baloch, while speaking during a Senate session on Thursday, said the military didn’t oppose the merger of Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (Fata) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, instead, it wanted that first Fata should be brought into the national stream.

He was responding to a motion in the Senate on Fata reforms. “The army had pressed for completion of rehabilitation and development works in Fata before its merger with KP,” he said.

In response, PPP’s Senator Farhatullah Babar raised an objection, saying that the statements of the Safron minister and Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on the issue were contradictory.

He pleaded, “The statement regarding the opinion of the army should not be made public at this point.”

“Abdul Qadir said the army does not want Fata reforms, whereas contrary to the statement, the GHQ had said in a press release that the army wants Fata reforms,” he said, adding that even after the ISPR tweet, the minister did not deny the statement.

To this point, Baloch clarified that the army did not oppose the Fata reforms but said last year that before merging Fata with KP, the region should be brought into the main stream.

He further said that this year, the army has demanded in writing for implementation of Fata reforms.

However, the military has asked for the completion of rehabilitation work in Fata before its merger.

Baloch said that he was trying his level best to table the draft of Riwaj bill for approval from the Senate on July 27, after getting it approved by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Safron.

Meanwhile, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani said that the Senate should deliver a clear message in this regard, that the Upper House of the Parliament would defend the supremacy of the Constitution and democratic system.

“Being the custodian of the House, I will be in the forefront for resistance if an attempt is made to impose something unconstitutional on the Senate,” he said, adding that the democracy will not be let derailed.

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