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Forces are acting against FATA merger,misleading the masses: Imran Khan

10 November, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday urged the masses to foil the nefarious designs of the forces acting against the merger of now-defunct Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Presiding over a meeting to review progress of administrative and other affairs relating to merged areas, premier Imran said: “A few forces are acting against FATA’s merger and misleading the masses for the sake of their ulterior motives,” he said. “Together we have to foil their designs.”

While briefing the prime minister, officials said that several departments, previously under the FATA Secretariat, including education, Zakat and Ushr, social welfare and population welfare had been handed over to the KP government.

The transfer of other departments from the secretariat was also under way, they said, adding that a special committee to be headed by KP chief minister had been constituted for 10-year development planning of merged areas, the officials briefed the PM.

They said that consultation was ongoing with the federation for allocation of three percent of National Finance Commission (NFC) award for these areas.

The prime minister was also briefed on progress of judicial and other affairs in merged areas.

Addressing the attendees, PM Imran Khan said the merger was aimed at bringing a visible change in the lives of the residents of the region.

“The administrative and other reforms should not cause difficulties for the people,” he told officials.

The prime minister said the merged areas were lagging far behind that other areas of the country in terms of development. “Everyone will have to come together and struggle for bringing these areas on a par with the rest of the country.”

He also said the federal government would play its role in getting merged areas their share in the NFC award.

Separately, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday reiterated his commitment to make Pakistan polio free.

Taking notice of some of the reported instances of polio virus in the country, PM Khan said that polio eradication was a national cause and every effort would be made to make Pakistan a polio-free country.

PM Khan chaired a meeting of the National Task Force on Polio Eradication at the PM Office on Friday. During the meeting, he said that the deadly disease could jeopardize the future of children. He promised complete support of the federal government in achieving a polio-free country.

Chief ministers (CMs) of Punjab, Sindh and Giglit-Baltistan apprised the task force of the measures taken at the provincial level for polio eradication.

Prime Minister’s focal person on polio eradication Babar Bin Atta briefed the task force in detail about the prevailing situation and the future eradication strategy. He said that Pakistan’s efforts for polio eradication had been recognized world over and the number of cases had recorded an exponential decline since 1994.

The participants were informed that the main factors contributing towards polio incidence in Pakistan were cross-border movement from Afghanistan, poverty, poor sanitation, low coverage of routine birth immunization, access and security threats and most importantly misconceptions that lead to refusal for immunisation.

During the meeting, the prime minister urged the provincial governments to enhance efforts for complete polio eradication through spearheading of the campaigns preferably coordinated community level engagements by involving prominent local elders and religious scholars.

He directed that meetings of the Task Force needed to be held more frequently to effectively oversee the progress and achieve zero incidence in the shortest possible time frame. Regarding future course of action the meeting was informed that the strategy needed to be implemented at the grass-root levels with targeted awareness campaigns, countering propaganda and high level engagements with decision makers and religious scholars.

Pakistan Army Engineer-in-Chief Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal said that Pakistan Army would continue to provide security and an enabling environment for the success of polio eradication campaigns in areas with security issues.

WHO Polio Eradication manager Dr Christopher Maher praised the high level presence, efforts and support of the government of the Pakistan, provincial governments and security forces regarding polio eradication. He also commended the integration of Polio Eradication Program with education, sanitation and other related sectors.

The prime minister thanked the international partner agencies for their technical and financial support to Pakistan’s Polio Eradication Program.

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