Representatives of tribal areas and main political parties have expressed concern over the delay in the implementation of proposed Federally Administered Tribal Areas reforms and have threatened to march on Islamabad if the government does not convene special sessions of the National Assembly and the Senate by May 20 to carry out the necessary legislation. According to media report, the ultimatum was announced in a one-page declaration issued at the end of a multi-party conference organised by parliamentarians from Fata. Participants of the MPC have asked the government to convene a special session of the National Assembly before the budget session, with a single-point agenda to take the administrative, financial and legal steps required for the merger of Fata with KP. The federal cabinet had approved the steps to be taken for a proposed merger of Fata with KP and a 10-year reform package to bring the tribal region on a par with other developing areas of the country. Back then, Prime Ministerâ€™s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, the head of the reforms committee, had said that the package would soon be sent to President Mamnoon Hussain for final approval after which a constitutional process would be initiated. Senator Farhatullah Babar of the PPP held the civil-military bureaucracy responsible for the delay. PML-Qâ€™s Ajmal Wazir said the people of Fata had reservations over the proposed Riwaj Act as they were not aware of the details of the proposed law. Barrister Zafarullah said the Fata reforms package was a part of the governmentâ€™s agenda and urged everyone not to doubt the governmentâ€™s intentions. Federal Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid said the Riwaj Bill 2017 had been finalised in line with the wishes of the people of Fata, to accord complete protection to their customs and introduce the countryâ€™s legal code. He said a proper judicial system would be established in Fata wherein the role of the tribal jirga had been duly legalised. While the government may have agreed in principle to carry out the merger, there are still major elements of it that need to be worked through on a national level, not least the fact that the Riwaj Act drew considerable criticism from several parties when it was unveiled. It is essential that the electoral side of the administrative changes be carried out before the next elections as they will have a major impact on the composition and political make-up of the KP and national assemblies. It is also vital that representatives from FATA be part of the national and provincial governments for the next term of five years. The government with the cooperation of all stakeholders should step up its effort to implement reforms on fast track basis. All political parties should prefer the interest of the country and the people of FATA and should not promote their vested party interests. This is a matter of great national interest and FATA should be implemented immediately and in full letter on the sprit.