PESHAWAR: Members of the All-FATA Grand Alliance insisted on holding a referendum on the fate of tribal areas, maintaining that they would oppose the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
This was decided at a jirga held at Bagh-e-Naran, which was presided over by the alliance’s chief, Malik Khan Marjan. At least 200 elders from all seven agencies and Frontier Regions participated in the grand jirga.
Prominent among those who attended the meeting were Malik Waris Khan, Malik Salahuddin, Malik Abdur Razaq, Malik Faizullah Jan, Malik Amir Nawaz, Malik Ziyart Gul, Malik Abdur Rahim, Malik Abdul Hafeez and Malik Nasrullah.
Highlighting the crucial role played by the people of Fata in national development, the elders said that the people of Fata should not be ignored in Fata reforms.
“We will never compromise on the Jirga system,” a resolution adopted unanimously stated.
It stated that although the alliance favoured reforms in Frontier Crime Regulations (FCR), a handful of people would not be allowed to decide the fate of the entire region.
The elders reminded the audience that the Prime Minister had assured in 2013 that no reforms would be made in Fata without the consent of tribesmen.
The jirga also urged the federal government to take steps for rehabilitating internally-displaced persons (IDPs) and construct schools, colleges and hospitals in all tribal areas.
Criticising Sartaj Aziz and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, members of the jirga accused them of not playing a positive and proactive role in the reforms process.
“Don’t force us into civil disobedience,” the Jirga warned government.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 12th, 2016.