ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Tuesday reforms in Fata were very important as they formed an integral part of the National Action Plan and aimed at bringing the long-neglected areas of the country into the mainstream.
“The future of Fata will be decided according to the aspirations and wishes of the people of those areas. The people of Fata have abundantly contributed to our national cause by rendering matchless sacrifices in the time of war and peace,” he said while chairing an important meeting on Fata reforms.
Foreign Affars Adviser Sartaj Aziz, who heads the Fata Reforms Committee, briefed the prime minister about the proposed recommendations the committee had tailored after painstaking work.
“The committee visited all tribal agencies and held meetings with the elected representatives of those areas — including businessmen, tribal elders (Maliks), educated youth, religious leaders and members of civil society — to ascertain their point of view before finalising the recommendations for the future of Fata,” according to the statement issued by the PM House.
The panel also held meetings with the notables of all frontier regions (FRs) and other stakeholders. However, the recommendations proposed by the Fata Reforms Committee would be reviewed on Wednesday (today) in another crucial meeting on NAP being held under a broader purview to be presided over by the premier.
The meeting, which was attended by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, National Security Adviser Lt-Gen Nasser Janjua, Law Minister Zahid Hamid, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen Rizwan Akhtar, States and Frontier Regions (Safron) secretary Arbab Shahzad and PM’s Secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad, also reviewed progress on NAP.
Janjua briefed the prime minister about the progress made in the implementation of the National Action Plan.
Some eight points — including reforms in Fata — have been prioritised by the NAP Implementation Committee on which the progress is slack or nil. These points relate to the banned groups, including sectarian outfits, terror financing, re-emergence of banned organisations under different names, coordination between security and law-enforcement agencies at the centre and in provinces and anti-terrorism laws, creation of counterterrorism forces at the provincial level, sources in the PM Secretariat told The Express Tribune.
The Fata reforms have proposed merging Fata into K-P, introduction of political and electoral activities in the region, local bodies’ elections, abolishing the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) and socioeconomic development.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2016.