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• Dr. Muhammad Hanif Khalil has resumed the charge as Acting Director of the National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad w.e.f. 25-09-2023
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National Institute of Pakistan Studies
Name of ScholarSaeed Khan
Title of Dissertation The Challenge of Mainstreaming the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan: A Study of Its Merger into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Issue Date2022
PublisherNational Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad

In an attempt to reform and integrate the FATA region into the national mainstream, the government of Pakistan has merged FATA in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province in 2018. Many have hailed the merger scheme and lots of expectations are associated with it. However, others have criticized it and say that these arrangements are insufficient and cannot help in meaningfully transforming the region and solving its multidimensional governance issues. Thus, the crux of this study is to critically examine the 2018 reform package, especially the merger scheme, and it’s effectiveness in solving the governance issues of FATA and meaningfully integrating it in the national mainstream.  

This study concludes that in comparison with the past reform attempts the merger scheme is a first practical step ever employed to reform the FATA region. However, it is by no means to say that the mainstreaming project is complete now. The full-scale mainstreaming is not as easy as it seems to be. It is a complex that involves political, economic, social, legal, and security aspects of the reforms. Therefore, the merger scheme can be an important aspect of mainstreaming but it should not be misunderstood as the full-scale mainstreaming. The region has seen decade’s long instability and violence and restoring it from its current devastated state of conditions is not possible with periodic and modest reform packages. It requires further consistent, practical, and comprehensive administrative, economic and legal reforms and its timely implementation in true letter and spirit, to materialize the FATA mainstreaming project and declare these areas as normalized part of the Pakistani federation.