Islamabad 19 May 2018 (APP)
The National Security Committee on Saturday while weighing all the pros and cons in detail endorsed that the merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where the administrative and judicial institutional structures and laws of the province would be introduced.
The matter of FATA merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was discussed during the 23rd meeting of the National Security Committee held here at the Prime Minister’s House with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the chair.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs Khurram Dastgir Khan, Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Miftah Ismail, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen. Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, Inter Services Intelligence Director General ISI Lt. Gen. Naveed Mukhtar and senior civil and military officials.
The prime minister apprised the meeting that his consultations on the issue with the leaders of other political parties in the parliament had reflected a broad consensus on the merger of FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The committee directed the ministries concerned to work out the constitutional, legal and administrative modalities for the merger in consultation with all parties in the parliament.
The national security body also endorsed the provision of additional well-monitored development funds for the FATA region during next 10 years, with the stipulation that the funds would not be re-appropriated to any other area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Sartaj Aziz and the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan briefed the committee on reform proposals for the Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. The meeting reviewed the proposals from the perspective of their conformity with the aspirations of the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
After detailed deliberations, a consensus was reached on the devolution of greater administrative authority and financial powers to the Azad Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan.
The committee decided for the retention of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Councils as advisory bodies.
It also evolved consensus for the grant of a five-year tax holiday to Gilgit-Baltistan so as to create adequate incentives for the development of the region and bring it at par with other areas of Pakistan.
The committee expressed satisfaction on the principled stand taken by Pakistan on Kashmir and Palestine, and its articulation at various world forums.
The Ministry of Interior presented details of the measures it had formulated to liberalise the visa regime, in particular for tourists and businesspersons. Reviewing these proposals, the committee instructed the Interior Ministry to further refine its proposals and submit them for consideration in its next meeting.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefed the committee on the regional and global security situation. The body resolved that Pakistan would continue to play its role for peace and security in the region and beyond.