Despite reservations over some sections of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) Local Government Regulation 2012, political leaders see it as a positive step.
The government recently asked tribal lawmakers to submit their views and comments about the document by August 10. It will announce the promulgation of this law on August 14.
Sajid Hussain Turi, a tribal lawmaker from Kurram Agency, told The Express Tribune that the new legislation was a good change for Fata. He said the law would be introduced in urban parts of the tribal areas first.
Turi pointed out, however, that he was not in favour of taxes being imposed in Fata. He said tribesmen were already paying taxes in the form of permits to political authorities, adding that there was no need to impose new taxes in a war ravaged zone. He did say that the permits could be converted to taxes after the introduction of the local government system in the tribal areas, though.
Fata Lawyers Forum (FLF) President Ijaz Mohmand also saw the extension of the local government ordinance to the region as a welcome development. However, he expressed concern that Fata lawyers were not contacted for suggestions and comments during the drafting of the regulation.
Ijaz also pointed out that too many powers have been vested in the governor through this regulation. He said elected people had been placed under political authorities in the regulation, which should have been vice versa. He also opposed the levying of taxes in Fata through local bodies.
“There is no infrastructure in Fata, so there is no justification for imposing taxes in this region,” he said.
Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) has also previously issued a detailed critique of the regulation. However, JI hailed these steps to extend the local government system to Fata.
“JI thinks the introduction of a local government system in Fata is an important step to improve fundamental rights, democracy and sustainable development,” JI’s Fata amir and former MNA Sahibzada Haroon Rashid maintained.
JI’s proposals included amendments to place the political administration under elected representatives.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2012.