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Imran Khan says will discuss FATA issues with army chief

PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday vowed to merge FATA with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa if his party won the next general elections.

“If we form the next government then the first thing would be to merge FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as one province,” he said adding this will ensure development in the tribal region.

Imran Khan said he will request Chief of Army Staff General Qammar Javed Bajwa to address the problems in FATA, and reduce the number of check points in the tribal areas, as being demand by the people in the region.

He said he would also request the army to remove landmines, and to help find the “missing persons” of families who have been displaced due to the continuous operations, and their grievances need to be heard.

He further said that local government elections will be introduced in the tribal areas, so the funds can be utilised for development, and there will be seats for tribal areas in the provincial assembly.

He also promised to abolish the permit system, which causes immense hardship and agony to local people. He said the tribal areas were rich in resources which can only be utilised if there was development in the region.

He singled out unemployment as the biggest problem, and said tribal youth who go abroad will be provided job opportunities in the area, calling for special funds to develop FATA.

He said that several parties had reached a consensus on KP-FATA merger, which was unfortunately sabotaged by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and that FATA reforms were not implemented.

He also said the British-era Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) will be abolished by mutual consensus of the tribal people.

In response to a question, he said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif indebted the nation by taking unprecedented loans, and has no moral authority to question loans taken by KP government.

He said that development by Shahbaz Sharif was confined to advertisements, unlike the KP government which spent money on the people. He said the metro bus project in Peshawar will solve the traffic woes and the feasibility study is done by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Imran Khan appeared undeterred by the revival of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and said they will form the next government and people will vote for them. He said the it was necessary that there is mutual consultation on the caretaker setup to ensure that the next elections are held free and fair.

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