The frontier may be geographically rugged but there’s no dearth of goodwill amongst its elected representatives when it comes to power.
To ensure that wealth and seats stay within the incumbent political elite, elected representatives from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) have decided to either propose names of their family members for the upcoming Senate elections, or make hay otherwise.
The Senate has 8 representatives from Fata, four of whom will retire in March 2012. The four new members for these vacant seats are voted for by the 12 representatives of Fata in the lower house of parliament.
The National Assembly has 11 Fata members at present, since elections were not held in South Waziristan due to the ongoing insurgency.
Of these 11 members, eight have paired themselves based on mutual understanding and will pay Rs150 million per pair into a pool that will eventually be divided amongst the existing 11 members, sources told The Express Tribune.
The pairs include Muneer Orakzai with Mohammad Kamran Khan; Sajid Toori with Jawad Hussain; Malik Bilal Rehman with Shaukatullah Khan; and Noorul Haq Qadri with Hameedullah Jan Afridi.
Each pair will nominate one person, which could be one of either lawmakers, or their family member, for the four vacant seats. Both lawmakers, however, will pay Rs75 million for being part of this arrangement, making a total pool of Rs600 million which will be divided amongst nine lawmakers.
Zafar Baig Bhittani, the ninth lawmaker of the group, has expressed no interest in making any nominations for the Senate seats and wants to simply receive a payout from the divisible pool for being a silent part of the arrangement.
These nine lawmakers together have offered Rs5 million each to Akhunzada Chattan of Bajaur Agency and Abdul Malik Wazir from South Waziristan Agency for not proposing any candidates either.
Muneer Orakzai, leader of the Fata parliamentarians, has already been allotted a ticket in his pair. From two other pairs, Shaukatullah Khan and Noorul Haq Qadri have proposed names of their brothers, Hidayatullah and Abdul Malik, respectively.
When approached, Muhammad Kamran Khan, the lawmaker from North Waziristan, refused to comment on the issue and said that “none of it has been finalised as yet”.
Other lawmakers could not be reached for their version, despite repeated attempts.
According to sources, the deal is set to be finalised by February 9.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2012.
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