The National Security Committee (NSC), in its 23rd meeting on Thursday, discussed a variety of topics ranging from Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan reforms to the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as the regional and global security situation.

The Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi-chaired committee, which saw the top civil military leadership meet for the second time in five days, expressed satisfaction on the principled stand taken by Pakistan on Kashmir and Palestine and its articulation at various world forums.

After being briefed on the regional and global security situation, the NSC resolved that “Pakistan would continue to play its role for peace and security in the region and beyond.”

In today’s meeting, the committee reviewed reform proposals regarding Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, and reached a consensus 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.

The NSC also decided to give “a five-year tax holiday to GB so as to create adequate incentives for the development of the region and bring it at par with the other areas of Pakistan”.

Meanwhile, PM Abbasi apprised the committee that his consultations with the leaders of other political parties in the Parliament on Fata’s proposed merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had reflected a broad consensus.

The committee endorsed that Fata shall be merged with KP along with the introduction of the administrative and judicial institutional structures and laws of KP.

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

Before today’s session, the NSC had last met on Monday to discuss the situation arising out of the controversial remarks of PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif about the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

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