Experts and politicians from political parties, at a round table conference, held here in Lahore, urged the government for mainstreaming the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) to put an end to the decade long militancy engulfing the entire region into its grip.

The round table conference titled “Implementation of Fata Reforms: Way Forward (View from Punjab) was organised by the University of Management and Technology to bring a select group of scholars, opinion makers, intelligentsia, government functionaries and other stakeholders together to deliberate upon the future course of the government’s reforms agenda and come up with a workable strategy on how to move forward.

The conference also aimed at earning national ownership for the longstanding issue confronting Fata that has been affecting not only the region but also the whole fabric of the Pakistani society.

Majority of the speakers were of the view that this was the right time and a historic opportunity for mainstreaming the region, which should be seized without further delay; while the procedural issues for the integration can be addressed in due course of time.

The five years transition period for an incremental approach for Fata’s  merger into KP was too long, they felt, stating that there were internal and external forces that can potentially sabotage the present willingness and near consensus of the people of Fata for the much needed change and, as a consequence, the process itself if it was not done immediately.

The speakers cautioned that if things went wrong this time too, this will not be the people of Fata only but the entire country to bear the brunt of consequences.

The participants also underscored the need that the people of KP should be sensitized to prepare for this major development, too.

Aisha said “Firstly; to act against terrorists by military operations is not enough we have to reform Fata, secondly; people of Fata are facing number of challenges, they need to feel that they are the stakeholders of Pakistan.”

The speakers argued how the provincial contributions in NFC award can help the troubled region out of the current crises and lead it towards an integrated, tolerant and democratic society.