The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly on Monday passed a unanimous resolution asking the parliament to give representation to the people of Fata in the provincial assembly after the consent of the region’s people.
The resolution was moved by K-P Law Minister Barrister Arshad Abdullah. Abdullah said in his speech that Fata was treated as a buffer zone during the British rule. He maintained that the same colonial mentality still prevailed with tribesmen living without human rights, civil liberties, proper judiciary and under the draconian laws of the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR).
Abdullah said people should be given protection under the judiciary and be “liberated from the clutches of FCR.” Terming the resolution a “stepping stone and ray of hope for tribesmen,” he urged the assembly to move the federal government for measures to empower tribesmen with the same rights provided to other citizens and to put the area under Supreme Court’s jurisdiction.
He called for the abolishment of the newly constituted FCR tribunal and to establish a proper judicial forum. He said the people of Fata should have a say in enactment of laws and get representation in the provincial assembly.
However, another clause was inserted on the insistence of JUI-F legislator Mufti Kifayatullah whereby “with the consent of the people” was also added to the resolution.
Pakistan Peoples Party-Sherpao (PPP-S) leader Sikandar Sherpao stressed that political reforms and economic integration should not be introduced without consent of the region’s people. “We support reforms. However, tribesmen must agree to them. Their opinion must be taken into account.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2012.