Independent candidates from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) have decided to form a group to hold talks with parties to devise their line of action for the formation of the government in the centre.
The candidates who have won from Fata include Haji Bismillah Khan from NA-43, father of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shaukatullah Khan, and former MNA from Mohmand Agency Bilal Rehman. Both have been accused of rigging in the polls with the help of the local political administration.
A source told The Express Tribune the group met Shaukatullah at the Governor House on Tuesday and a meeting was also scheduled in Islamabad at 9pm on the same day to decide on a strategy.
When contacted, Shahid Gul Afridi, winning candidate from NA-45 Khyber Agency, confirmed a group will be formed, adding a representative of the group would talk to political parties on behalf of all the members.
When asked if the candidates would join any party, Afridi said they will announce their affiliations after the meeting. “All winners from Fata including Bismillah Khan, Bilal Rehman, GG Jamal Orakzai, Nazeer Khan and Sajid Tori will first deliberate on making their own group and then decide if they want to join a party or remain independent,” he added.
On previous occasions, the formation of any such parliamentary groups of Fata lawmakers have not been fruitful in bringing change in the war-affected region.
According to a political observer, in the past such groups have only worked to fulfill their own personal interests and have become ministers, parliamentary secretaries or chairpersons of standing committees.
Fata has 12 NA seats; elections could only be held in 11 constituencies and were postponed in one because of dismal law and order.
Out of the eleven NA seats polled in Fata, NA-44 has been won by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), NA-47 by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), while Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) has been successful in NA-42. Independent candidates have remained successful in the remaining Fata constituencies indicating that political parties have failed to gain footing in the tribal area.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2013.