PESHAWAR: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Governor Masood Kausar’s nominated agency development councils in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) are unacceptable to tribesmen, leaders in Landi Kotal said on Wednesday. They asked the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari to take notice of the “undemocratic and unconstitutional” decision.
ANP Khyber Agency President Abdur Rahim Afridi regretted that the K-P governor had “disappointed tribal people by forcing undemocratic and unelected councils upon Fata, which may deprive tribesmen of their basic rights”.
“It is shameful and in violation of the constitution,” Afridi said. “The nominated agency councils would strengthen corruption and the status quo in tribal areas, which only encourages terrorists in Fata,” the ANP leader remarked.
He said Fata was a part of Pakistan but despite that, rulers were bent on imposing undemocratic decisions in the tribal region. “President Zardari claims to want Fata reforms, but his appointed governor sings the old songs of strengthening and maintaining FCR and other black laws in Fata,” the ANP leader opined.
Iqbal Afridi of PTI rejected the nominated agency development councils, saying they would compel tribesmen to run after Maliks for approval of local schemes and projects. He said the political administration ignored the tribal political leadership to meet their designs.
Iqbal felt that the government and political administration want to bulldoze the movement for political reforms in Fata, adding that tribesmen have already disregarded such bureaucratic maneuvers.
JI Fata Vice President Zarnoor Afridi said the political administration was not ready to relinquish its dictatorship. He said that tribal political parties would protest against the nominated agency councils in Fata, which is based upon the exploitation of the rights of the poor masses in the tribal belt.
“Being a democratic governor, Kausar was supposed to allow elected councils to administer Fata,” Zarnoor said, adding that nominated councils had already failed to resolve longstanding disputes and problems in the region.
“JI strongly condemns the formation of so-called councils in Fata. We shall mobilise the people to force the government to introduce comprehensive political and social reforms in Fata.”
PML-N Information Secretary Syed Wali Shah said, “The political administration formed councils full of ‘yes men’ to fulfill their agenda. It is a conspiracy against political and democratic reforms in Fata, which the tribesmen will never accept.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2011.