SHABQADAR: “Let us be on our own, or maintain the current status of an independent province,” demanded Senator Hilal Rehman of Mohmand Agency while criticising a resolution passed by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) provincial assembly this week.
A resolution had been passed unanimously in the house, asking the Parliament to give representation to the people of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), though merged with the K-P assembly, albeit after consent from the people of the region.
Fata operates semi-autonomously under the Federal government through political agents, and is governed by the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR).
Rehman was joined by Senator Haji Khan Afridi and MNAs Bilal, Hameedullah Jan Kamran Khan and Zafar Baig in voicing their opposition to the move.
They later told The Express Tribune that they would reject the present bill. “The assembly has no such right to legislate about Fata, as not even in the provincial government is there any FATA representation,” they maintained.
They were of the view that despite being official representatives of the people of Fata, even they had not been taken into confidence about the matter. “It is mere a political stunt of Awami National Party (ANP) to garner sympathies of the people,” they said.
MNA Bilal compared the move to that by Muttahida Qaumi Movement in Sindh Assembly, when it pushed a resolution for the Hazara province.
Deploring the provincial government’s move, he contended that a resolution should be introduced on how to stop corruption in the province and how incidents like the Bannu jailbreak could be prevented.
Giving his reasons against the inclusion of Fata in the provincial assembly, Bilal expressed concern that all resources of Fata would be moved out of it and the woes of inhabitants would further increase.
The MNA said they were negotiating with JUI-F and other political parties and would raise the issue on floor of the house in forthcoming sessions of both houses.
Hafiz Rashed, an ex-senator from Fata when asked the same question told The Express Tribune that our foremost demand was an independent Fata with its assembly and if not then the current status be maintained.
Another tribal elder and head of the Haleemzai peace committee, Muhammad Ali Haleemzai when contacted, called it a waste of time and said the inhabitants of Fata were happy with the FCR.
Fata Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) vice president Jangrez Khans also denounced the resolution and termed it ANP’s sole decision, and that it had no sanction from the PPP.
High Court Bar President Latif Khan Khan Afridi brushed aside all the concerns about the proposed step of the assembly. “All these representatives are so-called legislatures of Fata, are least concerned about the plight and miseries of people of that area.”
“While the political agents toe the same line, since they want to maintain the status quo, because it will quash their hold over the poor people. But we will unshackle them”.
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