ISLAMABAD: The National Security Committee on Saturday endorsed that the merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) where the administrative and judicial institutional structures and laws of the province would be introduced.

The meeting was presided over by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi which was attended attended by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, Inter Services Intelligence Director General ISI Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar, Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs Khurram Dastgir Khan, Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Miftah Ismail, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat and senior civil and military officials.

Matters pertianing to FATA merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa came under discussion during the meeting.

The prime minister briefed the Committee that his consultations on the issue with the leaders of other political parties in the Parliament had reflected a broad consensus on the merger of FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The Committee directed the concerned ministries to work out the constitutional, legal and administrative modalities for the merger in consultation with all parties in the Parliament.

The Committee also endorsed the provision of additional well-monitored development funds for the FATA region during the next ten years, with the stipulation that these funds would not be re-appropriated to any other area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The Committee reviewed the Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan reform proposals from the perspective of their conformity with the aspirations of the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

After detailed deliberations, a consensus was reached on: the devolution of greater administrative authority and financial powers to the Azad Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan; retention of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Councils as advisory bodies; and the grant of a five-year tax holiday to Gilgit-Baltistan so as to create adequate incentives for the development of the region and bring it at par with the other areas of Pakistan.