Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) Chairman Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao has demanded local government (LG) elections be held in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
Addressing a gathering at the QWP Central Secretariat in Hayatabad on Sunday, Sherpao reiterated his complaint against the federal government of not giving Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa its share of net hydel profits made this year or the previous year.
The gathering was held to announce that various tribal leaders had joined the QWP. Several former members of the Awami National Party (ANP) from Fata, including former ANP chief from Jamrud tehsil, Khyber Agency Abdur Rahim Afridi, Rasan Afridi, Amjad Afridi, Malik Zada Shah Mehmood, and Shaukat Khan Qambar Khel were present on the occasion.
“The process of LG polls took place in Balochistan and it would be unfair to the people of Fata if their areas remain deprived of the basic right of electing their leaders democratically,” said Sherpao.
“The reforms introduced in the tribal areas by the previous government seem to be nothing more than a fraud,” contended Sherpao, adding the amendments made to the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) need to be corrected.
The QWP chief also asked the federal government to set up a special fund for tribal areas because their economy and infrastructure have been badly damaged.
“Pukhtuns have been made homeless and forced to live in camps in their own country,” lamented Sherpao.
Newly inducted member Abdur Rahim Afridi said, “In the past it was the British who used us as a buffer region and now the Pakistani government is doing the same.”
“The ANP has never highlighted the issues faced by Pukhtuns in the tribal areas despite their loud slogans of representing all Pukhtuns,” claimed Afridi.
He asked the federal government to abolish the rule of political agents and conduct LG elections in Fata.
Unlike other parts of the country, Fata is still governed by the federal government under the FCR formulated in the British era but partially amended by the previous government.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 9th, 2013.