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Tribesmen should decide Fata`s future status: reforms body

Bureau Report 2014-05-29
PESHAWAR: The Fata reforms committee, comprising 10 political parties, has said that status of tribal areas should be determined by the tribal people themselves.

The members of the committee agreed to raise their voice to get basic rights for the people of Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

As part of its drive to meet leaders of different political parties to build consensus on Fata reforms, the committee held a meeting with Qaumi Watan Party chairman Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao at his residence here on Wednesday.

Later at a press conference, Mr Sherpao extended full support to the committee. He urged both federal and provincial governments to fulfil their responsibilities by implementing recommendations of the committee.

He said that peace was basic need of tribal people and it depended on the restoration of peace in Afghanistan.

`Our government needs to change its policy and prepare itself for the situation after the withdrawal of Nato forces from the neighboring country,` he added.

Haroonur Rasheed, a member ofthe committee and emir of Jamaati-Islami in Fata, said that they agreed on 11 points for introducing reforms in tribal areas.

About the 11 points, he said that peace should be restored in Fata, Article 247 of the Constitution should be amended to provide fundamental rights to tribal people and legislative powers should be shifted from the President of Pakistan to the parliament.

The committee also stressed the need for holding local bodies` elections in Fata, announcing a comprehensive package for tribal areas and development of infrastructure with special focus on health, education and employment.

It said that status of Fata should be decided by the tribal people themselves. The jurisdiction ofPakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) should be extended to Fata and media should be provided greater access to tribal areas, the committee said.

The committee said that jirga system should be made more democratic and independent while Action in Aid of Civil Power Regulation should be abolished. It said that executive and judicial powers should be separated in Fata and inheritance law should be extended to tribal areas. It said that Khasadar and Levies forces should be strengthened.

Mohammad Ajmal Wazir, a member of the committee and leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Q, said that they continued to hold discussion with stakeholders from Fata tobuild consensus, increase awareness and promote dialogue on Fata reforms.

Each of the 10 parties has three representatives in the committee and among them Sikandar Hayat Sherpao of QWP, Nawabzada Mohsin Ali Khan of ANP, Sahibzada Haroonur Rashid of JI, Abdul Jalil Jan of JUI-F, Rahmat Salam Khattak of PML-N, Ajmal Wazir of PML-Q, Salman Afridi of PTI, Syed Akhunzada Chatan of PPP, Mukhtar Bacha of NP were present on the occasion.

The committee members would meet JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Thursday and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor on May 30.

The committee will also hold a meeting with PTI chairman Imran Khan.

Talking about the prevailing situation in the country, Mr Sherpao said that the negotiations initiated by the government seemed fruitless. The government did not bother to take political parties into confidence.

He said that 2014 was an important year for the region as change would be witnessed in Afghanistan.

It was necessary for Pakistan government to play a key role, he added.

Mr Sherpao said that political parties were facing problems in carrying out their activities in tribal areas despite extension of Political Parties Act to Fata. He said that it was the responsibility of federal government and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor to focus on the issues of tribal people.