THE CHALLENGE OF REFORMING THE FATA REGION OF PAKISTAN: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF ITS MERGER INTO KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA PROVINCE
Keywords:FATA, Governance Issues, Mainstreaming, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
Constitutionally speaking, the erstwhile FATA region has always been considered an integral part of Pakistan. However, over the last six decades, this region consistently remained isolated from the national mainstream socio-economic and political life. As a result, it is one of the least developed regions of Pakistan and its governance issues are widespread. Successive Pakistani regimes have attempted different reform packages and development strategies, but it did not substantially transform the region and its governance issues continued. In an attempt to reform and integrate the FATA region into the national mainstream, in 2018, it was merged into the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Many have hailed the merger scheme and lots of expectations are associated with it. However, others have criticised these arrangements as insufficient and unsubstantial to meaningfully transform the FATA region. This article critically examines the merger scheme and seeks to explore that how far it is a viable option and will it help in meaningfully mainstreaming the FATA region and solving its multipronged issues.