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A special committee of the National Assembly resolved on Thursday to accelerate development of the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and eliminate hurdles in the way of structural transformation and good governance in the newly-merged districts with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The National Assembly Special Committee on ex-FATA held its second meeting, with its chairman Junaid Akbar in the chair. At the outset of the meeting, Akbar remarked that the region’s inclusive economic development required policy coherence and coordination amongst all the stakeholders at all levels.

Akbar highlighted that the leaderships of all the political parties would be taken onboard for developing consensus “beyond partisan lines” on the reforms and developmental initiatives for the newly-merged districts.

It was the second meeting of the special committee, which was convened to adopt the terms of reference (ToRs) submitted by a subcommittee. The committee members unanimously adopted the ToRs.

Read Govt releases Rs121b for ex-FATA

It was unanimously recommended that timely provision of the region’s due share of 3% in the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award must be ensured as a prerequisite for the accelerated development of the erstwhile tribal belt.

Several members pointed out that the NFC award share did not commensurate with the region’s current population as well as the scale of development challenges. The committee recommended that the issue of the NFC award would be taken up in the next meeting.

The members also stressed the need for revamping the governance system in the newly-merged district, saying that the current post-merger administrative system was a reincarnation of the same old system which did not bring any meaningful changes or any benefit for the local population.

They said that the committee should play a lead role in developing and overseeing the region’s developmental plan in close coordination with the provincial and federal government, and must ensure that all the spending were in line with the developmental plan.

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