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JI plans long march on Islamabad over delayed Fata reforms

JI plans long march on Islamabad over delayed Fata reforms

PESHAWAR: Frustrated by the delay in Fata reforms, the Jamaat-i-Islami has announced it will stage a walk from Khyber Agency to Islamabad to protest against the federal government for prolonging the process.

JI provincial chief Mushtaq Ahmad Khan told a news conference here on Friday that the long march would begin at Bab-i-Khyber (Jamrud) on Dec 10, while the protesters would stage a sit-in outside the Prime Minister’s House.

He said elders from all tribal agencies and politicians of political parties would be invited to take part in the walk.

“Before starting long march, the JI will hold conventions in tribal agencies to mobilise people,” he said.

The JI leader accused the federal government of delaying reforms, especially the merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Leader asks govt to merge tribal areas with KP before polls

He said the general elections were around the corner but ironically, the government had yet to take initiative to give representation to the people of Fata in the KP Assembly through the 2018 elections.

Mr Mushtaq said the government should implement the report of the six-member committee that recommended the merger of tribal areas with the province.

“Strangely, the government hasn’t implemented the report of its own committee,” he said.

The JI leader said the committee had presented its report in 2016, while the federal cabinet too approved it but it had been put in the cold storage to please ‘few’ people.

He said the JI and people of Fata would not tolerate further delay in Fata reforms.

Mr Mushtaq said the National Assembly and Senate had recommended the Fata-KP merger but the government was undermining Parliament.

He said if tribal people didn’t get representation in the KP Assembly through the next elections, then the KP-Fata merger plan would be delayed for the next five years.

The JI leader regretted that the Parliament made laws to make a disqualified prime minister as the ruling party’s head, while the genuine demands of the millions of Fata people were bypassed.

He said a handful of people opposed the Fata reforms process.

“The entire Fata is like an internment centre, where over 10 million people have been deprived of fundamental rights,” he said, adding that the JI would continue struggle against the status quo and corrupt system.

Mr Mushtaq held the federal government responsible for the prevailing situation in tribal areas.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2017

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