In a bid to bring tribesmen into mainstream politics, a grand jirga of all political parties was organised by the Jamaat-i-Islami for launching a political process in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
The main issue discussed by the jirga participants was “the so-called war on terror with undertones of a World War III that has ruined life in the tribal areas”.
Speakers stressed that political parties should be given the right to operate in Fata under the Political Parties Act of 2002. They also urged the government to extend the law to the tribal areas. The jirga also called for stopping drone strikes.
Highlighting that “even the US has chalked out a plan to negotiate peace with Taliban”, the resolution said that military operations in Fata should be stopped immediately.
The jirga members agreed that tribesmen should not be forced to form lashkars and internally-displaced persons should be provided with adequate and timely compensation. In addition, the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) should be abolished and people arrested in ‘search operations’ should be either released or presented before courts.
The jirga also called for extending the domain of the provincial assembly over the tribal belt, besides urging the Supreme Court to take suo motu action on massive corruption in the Fata Secretariat and the political administration.
Leaders of almost all major political parties attended the jirga, including Akhunzada Chattan from Bajaur, Ijaz Mohmand of the Fata Lawyers’ Forum, Jalil Jan of the JUI-F and Sheikh Amanullah, Tajuddin Khan of the ANP. Several tribal elders and journalists also attended the jirga.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2011.