Differences among the parliamentarians of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and the Fata Lawyers Forum emerged on Saturday over seeking representation of tribal areas in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) assembly or to demand a separate province.
The demand for making Fata a separate province was put forward in a jirga or a public hearing, convened by the Fata Grand Alliance, a representative forum of tribal elders, parliamentarians, lawyers, students and business community at the federal lodge Peshawar.
“The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly resolution of seeking representation of Fata members in the provincial assembly is a conspiracy for creating Greater Pakhtunistan,” Fata MNA Hameedullah Jan Afridi said vowing to oppose the move at all available forums.
However, Ijaz Momand, the president of the Fata Lawyers Forum, spoke in favour of the assembly resolution and pointed out, “The resolution does not seek merging of Fata into K-P, but to break the prevailing status quo in the region.”
He demanded extending the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and High Court to tribal regions, abolishing the newly constituted Frontier Crimes Regulation tribunal, and deletion of clause (7) of Article 247 of the Constitution, which violates the fundamental rights of the citizens of the area.
The patron-in-chief of the Fata Grand Alliance Malik Khan Marjan, while talking to the media, lashed out at the Awami National Party-led provincial government for double standards. He said the provincial government is busy in making a deal on a Hazara province and in return wants to get the entire tribal area.
“The Provincial and National Assembly do not have mandate to legislate about issues relating to Fata. Only the President of Pakistan can make such legislations.
“If the government wants to know the will of the people, we are ready for a referendum to show the will of the people of Fata,” Martjan said. In spite of a disagreement on many issues, the Fata Grand Alliance Jirga agreed that no legislation should be made without the consent of the people of Fata.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2012.