Security establishment hinders FATA reforms

Agencies say reforms cannot be implemented as long as fighting against terrorists continues in Fata and Afghanistan.

Qaiser Butt April 27, 2011


The planned political reforms in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) have been put on hold following serious reservations from the country’s security agencies, The Express Tribune has learnt.

The century-old legal regime in Fata, called Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), has long been seen by the tribesmen as violating basic human rights while secluding the region from modernity and progress.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had announced in his inaugural speech that the PPP-led government would bring “economic, social, and political reforms” to the tribal areas.

On August 14, 2009, President Asif Ali Zardari had announced the ambitious Fata reforms package – the aim was to do away with the sense of deprivation in the tribal areas where illiteracy and poverty have helped spread extremism and terrorism.

In March 2011, 10 major political parties of the country had unanimously agreed on the implementation of these reforms.

But sources told The Express Tribune that a notification, legally required to implement the Fata reforms is being delayed on the advice of the security agencies.

“The reforms cannot be implemented in Fata as long as fighting against terrorists continues in the tribal regions and neighbouring Afghanistan,” sources quoted the security forces as advising the political leadership.

The proposed reforms envisage lifting of restrictions on political activities, curtailing the arbitrary powers of bureaucrats to arrest and detain people, excluding women and minors from collective responsibility law, establishing an appellate tribunal, and providing audits of funds received and disbursed by the auditor-general.

“Despite the announcement of the reforms package, the president has not issued a notification for their implementation thus far. The reason being opposition from the establishment,” sources told The Express Tribune.

“Interestingly, most parliamentarians from Fata are also opposed to these reforms,” sources added. “These tribal lawmakers are following the dictates of political agents, who fear the reforms would clip their arbitrary powers.”

An official accused the PPP leadership of delaying the reforms because he believed that had they been serious in introducing the reforms, they would have made it a part of the 18 Amendment.

A tribal parliamentarian told The Express Tribune that the reforms were being introduced at the behest of the United States which wanted to deprive Fata of political autonomy the region has been enjoying since the creation of Pakistan.

The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, a Washington based organisation set up by the United States, has been actively involved to evolve a political consensus on the reforms.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2011.


Nizam Dawar | 10 years ago | Reply Yes we know that army is not willing to implement the reforms package. but here i would like to say that we need extension of some acts as “societies and companies act 1860, companies ordinance 1984 and social welfare act 1961”.how can we talk about the development to FATA without these acts. These acts need only ordinance by the president, let’s forget about collective and territorial responsibility sections or section 40 and the extension of the above cited acts someone can start their own business and national and multinational companies and NGOs will extend their business to FATA, especially in energy and mining sectors.
shafi afridi | 10 years ago | Reply This is ironical. Leaving the people of fata at the mercy of non- state elements, a fertile ground for killing. Enough blood of innocent tribesmen have been spelt, for achieving flawed strategic depth policy. Pakhtuns are the fodder of this war of insanity on both sides of the border. In Afghnaistan western allied don't trust them, turning their majority into minority in Afghanistan, here in pakistan, they are not believed to be capable of introducing to modern civilization. Pakistan has to come out of this security paradigm and has to become a wellfare oriented state, otherwise a bleak future is awaiting, like USSR. The social and cultural stattistics of fata are deteriorating day by day. Local people are losing what loyakty they had for their state by leting them down. they have been thrown to the wolves. . .
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