FATA lawmakers demand development of region

* Delegation proposes separate university, colleges for students
* Seek immediate attention to reconstruction in militancy-cleared areas

ISLAMABAD: Parliamentarians belonging to FATA on Tuesday handed over proposals and recommendations to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani for the development of their region. A delegation of FATA parliamentarians met the prime minister at the PM’s Secretariat.

According to their proposals and recommendations, FATA should have a separate university, engineering and medical college for the students. Besides completion of the approved grid stations, including the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Grid Station, they said more grid stations should be built in other agencies as well to encourage setting up of industries.

The parliamentarians said immediate attention should be paid to the rehabilitation and reconstruction work in the areas cleared after successful military operations. Economic activities in these areas have to be restored through the reconstruction of markets and replacement of machinery and equipment of cottage industries.

Budgetary allocation: They also said the internally displaced persons should be allowed to live closer to the roads for better security since scouts and army patrol these roads round the clock. The procedure of allocation of budget and funds with the consequent process of their release be simplified to facilitate progress of the development work, they added. The committee formed to review the abolition of the Frontier Crime Regulations should also be asked to accelerate the work. They also asked the political leadership, both national and provincial, to increase contact with the people of FATA, particularly the IDPs.

The FATA senators and MNAs said the people of their region believe that democratic governments have always been more considerate towards them and this was the reason they had high expectations from the government. They also said all the elected members from FATA had great respect and regard for the prime minister and had always appreciated his personal interests for the welfare of the people of FATA.

The delegation mainly focused on two broad areas, which were part of the Annual Development Programme, and the issues related to the IDPs. They said the ADP needs to be increased substantially to meet the development expenditures. They also asked for exemption of budgetary cuts on the allocations earmarked for FATA.

Funds: Regarding allocations of PSDP for various schemes identified by the elected representatives, the delegation asked for an increase in it and their timely release to speed up the implementation process. The meeting was told that lawmakers from FATA had been Rs 1.5 billion in five years from 2002 to 2007, while the current government had given them more than Rs 3 billion in PSDP.


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