FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) merger bill was signed by the Former President of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussain on 28th May 2018. The bill was presented before the president for granting his approval after gaining majority of votes in both houses of the parliament as well as in KPK (Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa) assembly. The approved bill resulted in making twenty fifth amendment to the constitution of Pakistan. The merger process contains the integration of seven agencies and six frontier regions with KPK government. So far, the area of FATA was administered through a set of rules devised by the British crown during the colonial period of the Sub-continent. This set of rules was called The Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) Act. Under this act, the people of FATA had been kept deprived of three basic rights which were the right to file an appeal in any court against a decision (appeal), right to hire a legal representative (wakeel) and right to present reasoned evidence (daleel) respectively. Now with integration in KPK, the people of FATA will have every opportunity to utilize their every right. The FATA merger in KPK has many implications both for the province and the country. The expected implications of FATA merger in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province can be categorized as social, political and economical.
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Social Implications: Socially the integration of FATA with KPK will promote social interaction between people, integration and unanimity among the people. Some of the prominent social implications of this decision are;
- The feelings of isolation and exploitation at the hand of federal government, present in the minds of most of the tribal people will be successfully eradicated with this decision. For the past few years, especially the sudden raise of terrorism in FATA and the successive military operations in the region have raised the sentiment of hatred among the locals for the people of Pakistan. With the integration process, let’s hope their mind will change.
- Social interaction among the people of FATA and other parts of the country will increase. Due to the poor transportation system and security reasons, people from other parts of the country could not visited the region. Now when the area has become a part of the KPK province, there are high chances that the interaction among the people will rise after the improvement in the security and transportation system of the region.
- It is also believed that FATA amalgamation will help in the rise and nourishing of the sentiment of patriotism among the brave people FATA. The fearless Pakhtoons of tribal areas are a great asset of Pakistan. Their integration in the mainstream will further strengthen the idea of nationalism in the country.
- The people of FATA will eventually get rid of the FCR draconian law. Due to the presence of proper judicial and police system, people will now be more able to enjoy the citizenship of the country.
- And last but not the least, due to FATA merger, it is much expected that peace and stability will finally come to the area, which is one of the major objectives of the FATA integration process.
Political Implications: The political implications of FATA merger are far greater than the social implications. Some prominent political implications of FATA merger are;
- Due to the concealed involvement of the Afghan and Indian government in the region, the control and stability of FATA has always been remained a challenge both for the government and the security forces of the country. Now with the amalgamation process, it is believed that the influenced of both these countries in the region will be successfully minimized.
- Since day one Afghan government, on the basis of their claim on the region, has always expressed some strong reservations regarding any economic, social and political activity of Pakistan in FATA region. Similarly the intelligence agencies of Afghanistan along with India have also been found involved in inciting the locals against the government and conducting various terrorist activities in the region. With the amalgamation of FATA in KPK the political influenced of Afghanistan will be eradicated gradually.
- With the integration FATA, KPK government will get an area of 27,220 km and a population of 4.4 million. This additional area and population will help KPK government in seeking more seats in the National Assembly.
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Economic Implications: The area of FATA is rich in natural and mineral resources. Some of the economic implications of FATA merger are;
- Due to unstable social and political conditions in FATA region, for the past one and half decade, the country could not successfully explore the natural and mineral resources of the area. Now with successful merger, the government would be able to successfully explore these resources and add them to national resources’ index.
- The area of FATA is rich in some of very useful mineral resources such as marble, copper, limestone and coal. Federal government in collaboration with provincial government would now be more able to successfully extract these resources and used it for the welfare of the people.
- After amalgamation, the population of Pakhtunkhwa increased by 4.4 million persons. This rise in population bore some economic benefits for the KPK government in the form of rise in quota in federal jobs plus a rise in financial help from the central government.
The overall amalgamation process of FATA has many prosper aspects for the country but it is necessary that during the amalgamation process the political leaders should avoid making hasty decisions as such decisions have caused an upraise in the form of Tehrek-i-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi in Swat and Buner after their amalgamation in the province.