SHABQADAR: The government has decided to replace the colonial-era Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) with the Rivaj Act, a hybrid of local tribal customs and Pakistan’s laws, in the federally administered tribal areas.
The decision comes after legislators from Fata met with the SAFRON minister Abdul Qadir Baloch on Friday.
A total of 10 lawmakers out of the 11 Fata representatives signed an agreement demanding the replacement.
“We, Fata lawmakers, endorse Fata reforms and bringing changes in Fata. Government must implement the Rivaj Act but should take the lawmakers into confidence before introducing it before the parliament or implementing it,” they stated in the agreement.
The legislators demanded equal representation at any committee regarding implementation of the act, further changes in the status of Fata, and any development process of Fata in the future.
They also asked to be taken into confidence before Fata was merged with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa adding, that the government also need to fulfil the promises it made regarding the region’s development.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s only Fata representative Maulana Jamaluddin told The Express Tribune that he refused to sign the agreement, because his party has already asked the government to take the tribal elders into confidence before merging Fata with K-P.
Another lawmaker from Kurram Agency Sajid Hussain Tori on the other hand sounded upbeat on the government’s decision.
In the first phase, he said, the government will replace FCR by the Rivaj Act and will extend supreme judiciary to Fata. In the second phase, development and other reforms will be introduced over a five-year period.
Tori also said that the government would take the decision of whether or not to merge Fata with K-P after the transitional period.
He hinted that the government might allocate seats in the K-P Assembly in the next general election.
Sources revealed that members of the cabinet are expected to discuss the proposed Rivaj Act during a meeting on February 7. Sources added that the JUI-F is likely to endorse the said decision as the merger is delayed for the time being.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2017.