Finally sacrifices and grievances of Pashtuns have been recognized, a naya KPK has come into being. Majority of Pakistanis have celebrated this milestone as their representatives, in three different legislative bodies, have confirmed the merger of FATA into the KPK. The oppressive FCR and FATA are no more and now a naya KPK exists.
The foreign masters of PTM are in complete shock because they never expected such a swift and collaborative action by civil and military leadership of Pakistan.
The beginning of a new KPK will also be the end of PTM because merger with KPK was the most popular demand of Pashtuns but PTM focused on maligning the Pakistan armed forces instead and as a result, the support for PTM has diminished.
Role of the PPP – Many analysts now believe that PPP is behind the rise of the PTM. The recent announcement of Farhatullah Babar’s joining the PTM reconciliatory jirga that is going to mediate between PTM and govt.
Why would PTM request PPP to nominate Babar to the jirga? Other unpopular parties, ANP and the PkMAP, are also part of the jirga. It is now clear that PPP is trying to get all anti-PTI vote on a platform to take most advantage during elections, however, in doing so the PPP has colluded with anti-Pakistan forces as well.
It is unfortunate that a political party like the PPP has resorted to such acts for the sake of elections and to gain support from foreign elements.
Some people even claim that the murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud by Rao Anwar, a police officer close to Zardari, is part of a larger conspiracy to instigate the Pashtuns in area formerly known as FATA.
What is the agenda of the PPP?
- Support the agenda of Afghan govt regarding the Durand Line
- Negatively impact progress of the CPEC project
- Gain leverage and reach compromise with NAB and other institutions in the cases against PPP leadership
All of the above speculations need to be thoroughly investigated.
Should the army negotiate with PTM? No, this is mostly a provincial issue and it must be dealt by the provincial govt and jirga. Realistic chances are that PTI will return as the winning party to form the provincial govt. The PTI MPs and local politicians will be in a far better position to negotiate with any entity including PTM. Besides, PTM has become irrelevant after the merger of FATA. The best course of action is to wait till the end of elections. Let’s not give undue attention to PTM.
Last month, the Real Agenda of PTM was discussed and published by Command Eleven (2) and next steps were proposed. It is heartening to see that tremendous progress has been made, here is a quick status:
|Proposed next step||Status|
|1. Ensure that no use of force/ arrests takes place, regardless of the hate speeches by PTM||No one has been arrested|
|2. Immediate abolition of FCR and merger of FATA with KPK. Process must be driven by politicians||Done|
|3. Complete removal of landmines||In progress|
|4. Transfer of check posts to police and local levies||In progress|
|5. End to curfews and punishment of entire tribe for mistakes of few||To be completed|
|6. An absolute stop to any real or perceived enforced disappearances||No new disappearances|
|7. Formation of a committee to ascertain the number of missing and then recovery of missing specially ones that may be in state’s custody||In place by means of a jirga|
|8. Any committee formed must include stakeholders from FATA and KPK. Process must be driven by politicians||In progress by means of a jirga|
|9. Meaningful financial grants to the residents of FATA||To be completed|
|10. Movements of the Afghan refugees to be restricted to their camps||To be completed|
|11. Repatriation of Afghan refugees on an urgent basis, specially those involved in politics||To be completed|
|12. Tele/ WhatsApp/ Radio messages in Pashtu, highlighting success in reducing terrorism, drug trade and upcoming projects||In progress|
|13. Continue with steps such as extension of Supreme Court jurisdiction to FATA||In progress|
Focus of naya KPK – The focus of KPK govt should be on social and economic uplift of people from the newly added areas into the KPK. This is a tough task because there is going to be a caretaker govt, however, it can initiate some projects that will not require the political power of an elected govt. Let’s not wait for elections to be over otherwise it will be too late.
Here are some of the projects that can be immediately launched:
Billion Tree Tsunami (BTT) for new areas of KPK – This project is one of the hallmarks of PTI lead KPK govt. The launch of BTT in the newly added areas of KPK will not require much work from the caretaker govt because the team currently working on the BTT is very experienced now and can effectively launch the projects in the new areas. Mr. Malik Amin Aslam lead the BTT project and is also the Global VP of IUCN, he can most certainly guide the project team. As per the IUCN, BTT has help to create 13,000 nurseries in KPK. As per Malik Amin Aslam:
“This innovative program not only created the expanded supply of plants but also generated a major portion of the 500,000 ‘green’ jobs created.”
As per the census 2017, FATA’s population was approximately 16% of the KPK population, by that estimate, BTT will be able to create 8,000 green jobs and will help to create close to 3,000 nurseries in a period of one year.
Public works projects – These projects are infrastructure projects such as construction and improvement of hospitals, bridges, highways, sewage lines, waste management systems and dams. These projects are funded by all levels of govt and can also be funded by individuals, businesses and foreign aid. The recent work done by the PTI lead KPK govt will help tremendously in public works projects because the govt (bureaucrats and administrators) are experienced. The majority of workforce in new area of the KPK is comprised of labourers. Initiating construction work across the new area of KPK will give hope to the people, specifically the youth. The simplest projects will be construction of roads and erecting light poles etc.
Livestock and dairy – The WoT has impacted FATA the most. Many youngsters didn’t get to finish any vocational or traditional school, this situation has lead to higher rate of unemployment. livestock and dairy is a huge economic opportunity because it requires minimum skill set and ROI has a fairly short time. The tribal are also interested and high demand for meat and cattle across Pakistan means the business will continue to grow. The KPK govt must use the Department of Livestock and Dairy Development for FATA and offer packages and soft loans to entrepreneurs in livestock and dairy industries. The Dairy Science Park is a great initiative by Univ of Agriculture, Peshawar and can play a major role in livestock and dairy market of the KPK.
Mining – There is great potential for mining in FATA as marble, copper, limestone and coal are available in vast quantities. In the last 4 years, KPK’s mining department has achieved some significant milestones like modern legislations to meet industry standards. This will be another low hanging fruit for the KPK caretaker govt. In addition, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by UN should also be implemented.
Next steps – The onus of responsibility is upon the KPK caretaker govt to immediately start working on the aforementioned and other opportunities to streamline the newly added area of the KPK into a truly naya KPK.
- Caretaker govt form a team of bureaucrats that have experience in generation of economic activities
- The team will form a strategy that includes short term goals (six months)
- Immediately start implementation of projects
- Use media to propagate economic plans and achievements
- Ensure that election campaigns and political activities are conducted in a conducive environment
The PTM and any similar entity can be kept at bay if the KPK caretaker govt can improve the economy and continue with efforts of previous PTI govt. The beginning of a naya KPK will be the end of PTM.