The government will take all stakeholders including the people of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) on board to return peace to the tribal belt. This was said by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Siddiqul Farooq on Tuesday while speaking at a seminar titled “Nato Post-withdrawal Scenario in Afghanistan”. The event was organised by the Fata Research Council.
Jan Achakzai of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) and Shehryar Afridi of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also shared their views about the post withdrawal scenario.
Farooq said the PML-N is aware of the situation and is going to convene an all parties conference to pave the way for peace in Fata.
“In the past, several APCs were convened, but there was lack of political will. This time we are serious. Political will exists and all political parties are supporting us,” he said.
He added that the PML-N is also working on bringing Fata into the mainstream and hoped that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will also pay a visit to the tribal areas.
Jan Achakzai said it is imperative for all stakeholders to strike a deal as this is the only option stakeholders are left with.
“We all know that [military] power is not the solution, that is why dialogue is the only way out to restore peace in the region and the country,” he said.
Afridi said the government should focus on the ground realities. “Sitting in Islamabad to resolve the problems of Fata is ridiculous,” he said.
He said the government should take local elders on board instead of making policies based on the analysis of “pseudo-analysts” who do not know about the culture and problems of the area.
Fata Research Council President Dr Ashraf said those who term US presence as curse will have no justification left to wage jihad after the withdrawal.
“The government is going in with one ‘D’ --- deterrence, while ignoring dialogue and development,” he said.
The FRC also launch its biannual report based on a survey carried out in Fata. Among the findings, 41 per cent of respondents believe that after the US withdrawal, local militants will lay down their arms, 26 per cent says the groups will vacate the tribal belt, and 20 per cent are of the view that militants will continue their war.
On a separate question, 74 per cent said that the withdrawal will bring positive changes in the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan, while 19 per cent disagreed with the notion.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2013.
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