SHABQADAR/ PESHAWAR: The FATA Reforms Committee visited Bajaur on Thursday to meet tribal elders, political workers and stakeholders and obtain their feedback on the proposed 22nd Constitutional Amendment Bill.
The committee, headed by Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, held detailed discussion, on the FATA Reforms Bill. If passed, the bill will change the fate of the tribal belt as it will rid the region of the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR).
What the future holds
Malik Qadir Khan, a tribal elder, spoke in favour of FCR. However, the tribal elder’s remarks drew the ire of the young people at the meeting who shouted slogans against the draconian law. Malik Qadir said tribal elders are not against the reforms. However, they do not want to integrate Fata into K-P. The tribal elder said FCR protects the rights of women and MNAs have no right to amend the regulation as they do not have a representative majority.
PML-N Fata youth organiser Nizamuddin Khan criticised the collective responsibility clause in FCR, saying it benefitted tribal elders and was against underprivileged sections of society.
Aziz told the tribal elders they have started visiting various agencies in the tribal belt to obtain feedback.
“We have started our visit from Bajaur and will proceed to Mohmand on Friday (today),” he said. “PM Nawaz is taking keen interest in ensuring peace and prosperity in Fata. The aim is to hold discussion to bring stakeholders on board. We will present our findings later.”
Speaking on the occasion, Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan said the government will never impose its own decision on the people of Fata and will consult them every step of the way. Nizamuddin told The Express Tribune a majority of tribespeople are vehemently opposed to the FCR and want Fata to merge with K-P.
Voice of dissent
FATA Political Parties Alliance has rejected the reforms committee that is to provide recommendations on the fate of the tribal belt. Speaking to journalists in Peshawar, PPP FATA president and former MNA from Bajaur, Akhunzada Chattan, has said the committee is only meeting influential people.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2016.