ISLAMABAD- President Mamnoon Hussain has said that the US-ISAF drawdown from Afghanistan will bring new challenges in FATA as well as the whole tribal belt at large and emphasized the need to give more attention to the area for lasting peace, stability and development.

The President was speaking at a conference on FATA organized by the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI) and the Danish Institute for International Studies today. He said FATA has been gravely affected by the decade-old war in Afghanistan and peace and stability in the country at large and is directly related to development in the tribal areas. He pointed out that the presence of foreign troops and drone attacks promote pro-conflict ideology, inflow of well-armed militants from the Afghan conflict importing extremist ideologies and practices. He said the insurgency is sustained from a variety of domestic and international financial sources. Mamnoon Hussain said Pakistan is however determined to meet its security challenges in FATA and is deploying every possible means; including dialogue with the militants for peace & stability.

Giving back ground of the disturbing law and order situation in FATA, he said the region started to witness changes with the revolution in Afghanistan in 1978 as refugees and armed Afghans began to move into FATA and beyond into Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Punjab. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 and subsequent conflict in Afghanistan also had negative consequences for FATA, resulting in inflows of Afghan refugees, the illegal transfer of weapons, and the evolution of drug trade.

The President said the government is fully aware of the issues being faced by the people of the tribal areas and is undertaking every possible effort to address those issues. He said a sustainable Development Plan for FATA has been devised which provides a coherent framework to address the basic needs and problems of FATA and its people. The ongoing development programmes for the tribal areas largely focuses on education, health, clean drinking water, electricity through solar energy, agriculture, forestry, irrigation and technical training that would guarantee a new era of economic and social prosperity for the people of Tribal areas. He said while the government is making every possible effort to generate economic opportunities especially for the youth of the tribal areas, there is a need for greater international cooperation in this regard.

He said to create synergy, harmony and increased coordination in programs of various institutions, a FATA Youth Commission is being setup. The main function of this commission will be to give impetus to harmonious implementation to the Youth Policy, monitor performance and provide overall guidance on youth policy and initiatives.