Peshawar: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said new laws and the governance system to be enforced in the areas of the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be made compatible with the existing tribal traditions.
Addressing 40-member Jirga delegation of the Khyber district here at Governor House, the prime minister paid tribute to them for maintaining peace in their areas during the transition period when there were no laws enforced for almost a year since the announcement of the merger.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were also present.
Imran said this showed that the old tribal system was peace-loving as even before 9/11, the tribal areas had minimal crime rate and people were also getting easy justice through an indigenous governance system.
He told the gathering that the new system would almost be compatible with the old one and the government would try to ensure its minimum impact on the local tribal traditions and culture.
The prime minister, who arrived here on a brief visit, said the government had learnt lesson from the experience of Dir and Swat when the crime rate had swollen dramatically after the merger of two areas. This had happened because the people of those areas had no understanding of the laws enforced in settled areas, he said.
He said the government would enforce alternate dispute resolution mechanism in the merged areas too that had also been experimented in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the last five years. He said the new local government system was also similar to governance system in tribal areas.
Under the system village councils would be formed and the villages would get direct funding and be empowered to make their own decisions regarding development. Similar system would also be introduced in Punjab province, he added.
The prime minister said though the merger of tribal areas was not an easy task, however, the government would ensure the resolution of their problems with the consultation of tribal elders through an exclusive committee. He said the parliament had increased the number of seats for merged tribal areas before the upcoming elections and in future they would get full representation in both National and provincial assemblies. The prime minister recalled that in the past there was none to raise voice for the tribal people when they had been facing terrorism, displacement during the military operation and drone attacks.
However, after the merger with KP, this would not happen again, he assured.