FATA reforms to empower locals, strengthen democracy: Zardari

President approves recommendations for further reforms in the tribal areas.


APP July 03, 2013
Zardari said he empathised with the locals because he has been through the loss of a family member. PHOTO: Government of Pakistan website

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday endorsed recommendations for further reforms in the tribal areas put forth by Grand Assembly of people of tribal areas in Peshawar last month.  

People in the tribal area have suffered at the hands of criminals, militants and drone strikes and need to be given their due rights, the President said.

Addressing a convention at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, the President said that he empathised with the locals.

“Our family has suffered, we have sacrificed lives, we understand your pain and will always stand by you,” the President said.

It's important that the residents of the area are empowered so that they are able to meet challenges posed by both local and foreign threats, he continued.

The President was addressing the participants comprising tribal leaders, lawyers, educationists, students, women representatives and journalists who had prepared the 19-point FATA Declaration, that was approved by a Grand Assembly in Peshawar last month.

"The reform process in FATA will enable the political parties to maintain a presence in the area, participate in the general election and eventually serve the masses."

The President maintained that the reforms-oriented approach had been implemented with democracy in mind.

The 19-point FATA Declaration urges that Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) be immediately implemented while people of FATA be given fundamental rights. It also urges that a local government system be established and asks for reserved seats for women.

Zardari said the implementation of reforms was not complete, but hoped the process of improvement would continue.

"I stand by the Parliament as I believe in the supremacy of the people."

The FATA declaration was unanimously approved by over 300 members of the FATA Reforms Councils, marking the culmination of a five-year long consensus building process, which was initiated by the Shaheed Bhutto Foundation in 2008.

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