Pakistan president signs KP-Fata merger bill into law

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Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain today signed a key constitutional amendment bill to merge restive tribal region along the Afghan border with the northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, bringing an end to the 150-year-old British-era arrangement.

The bill was passed by the National Assembly, the Senate and KP Assembly before being sent to the president for formal approval.

After signing the bill, the president congratulated the people of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Geo TV reported.

The bill amends several Articles of the Constitution including Article 1 that defines the territory of Pakistani federation.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi who played a key role in bringing consensus to pass the amendment in the National Assembly had said that it will “change 150-year-old system in the tribal areas.”

The semi-autonomous tribal region was created by British colonizer as a buffer zone to avoid direct conflict with Afghanistan.

It consists of seven districts – Bajaur, Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand, North Waziristan, Orakzai and South Waziristan – which stretch along the border with Afghanistan, and became known in the world due to presence of militants who fled the porous border after US forces invaded Afghanistan post-9/11.

These seven districts are home to some eight million residents, mainly ethnic Pashtuns.

Pakistan forces launched repeated military operation to clear the area of rebels and dismantle their hideouts which were used to launch attack in the country and Afghanistan.

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