Fata jirgas oppose merger plan

Khasadars warn of movement against police deployment

Our Correspondents December 15, 2017
FATA reforms. PHOTO: PPI

JAMRUD/GHALANAI: Scores of Khasadar force members on Thursday protested at the historical Bab-e-Khyber (Khyber Gate) in Jamrud against the proposed deployment of police in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

Raising slogans like “No to Police in Fata”, the protesters asked the federal government to protect the jobs. They also announced they would launch a protest movement against the deployment of the police in the tribal region.

The protest came as two tribal jirgas – one held by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) in Teddi Bazar in Khyber Agency and the other in the Ghalanai town of Mohmand Agency – opposed the proposed merger of Fata with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Tribesmen oppose FATA merger plan

The protesters at the Khyber Gate reminded the government of the sacrifices rendered by the Khasadars in the war against terrorism. “We faced the most critical and dangerous situation without enough resources,” Subedar Jahangir Khan said at the protest.

“We can best perform our duties if we are provided with the needed resources,” he said, adding that the government was planning to remove hundreds of Khasadars from their jobs and replace them with policemen.

Major Jalal Khan, another Khasadar at the protest, said the future of Khasadar force would be uncertain after the police deployment in Fata. “Police in Fata is not acceptable to anyone. The government should have rewarded us for our sacrifices but instead they are removing us from our jobs.”

He said they would start a protest movement against the government’s decision to replace Khasadar with police force. “The final decision will be taken in a jirga of Khasadars and Subedars from all the agencies in Peshawar’s Baagh e-Naran.”

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FATA merger opposed

Earlier, elders of Fata and leaders of the JUI-F held a jirga at Teddi Bazar against the merger of Fata with K-P and deployment of the police in the region. The participants of the jirga hoisted black flags on their vehicles and displayed banners against the Fata merger plans.

The participants, including Malik Waris Khan, Malik Khan Marjan, Malik Bahadar Shah, Mufti Abdul Shakoor, Mufti Ijaz Shinwari, Malik Salahuddin and Malik Nadir Mohmand, expressed concerns over the Fata merger.

They accused the federal government of not listening to their viewpoint on the matter and taking unilateral decisions about the tribal belt. They rejected report of the Fata Reforms Committee, chaired by Sartaj Aziz, and called it “factually incorrect”.

The speakers said the political parties who were supporting the Fata merger plans had no existence in their region. They agreed to hold a power show of the tribal people in Islamabad on December 23 to demand provincial status for Fata, instead of its merger with K-P.

The participants warned they would not accept “Thana [police station] culture” in their areas. “If a person in any tribal agency gave the land for the construction of police station, he will be treated with heavy fine,” the jirga was told. The speakers said 28,000 Khasadars would lose their jobs if the force was replaced by the police.

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Mohmand Jirga

A jirga at the Mohmand Press Club in Ghallanai, which was attended by elder from tribes including Haleemzai, Khwaizai, Baizai and Tarakzai, Safi and Utmankhel, opposed Fata’s merger with K-P and urged the government to refrain from getting the Fata reform bill passed.

They warned that any bill regarding the merger plans would create unrest in the tribal areas. They said in such cases the tribesmen would not abide by the territorial “collective responsibility” clause of the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR).

The tribal elders stressed that decisions regarding mainstreaming of Fata should be taken with the consent of the tribal people. They also warned the pro-merger political parties against ignoring their concerns. The jirga stressed that they wanted to keep their tribal identity.


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