GHALLANI: A jirga in Mohmand Agency announced on Wednesday it would not abide by the FCR’s collective responsibility clause if the political administration tried to weaken their traditional customs. Elders also opposed holding local government polls in Fata.
This was stated by elders during a jirga at the hujra of peace committee leader Haji Muhammad Ali Haleemzai in Sangar village near agency headquarters Ghallanai.
Haleemzai said tribal elders of Mohmand had rendered tremendous sacrifices for the restoration of peace along with the Pakistan Army.
He added the Mohmand political administration sidelined tribal elders after the restoration of peace. The tribal elder claimed those who were at the forefront of fighting militancy were insulted by the political administration and this was unacceptable.
He said authorities in the tribal area regularly imposed illegal and non-auditable fines at checkpoints for their own benefit. At the same time, he added, the monthly allowances of tribal elders had also been stopped. The peace committee leader asked the K-P governor to stop the administration from imposing these fines and taxes, and to restart the monthly allowances of tribal elders.
‘Stop behaving like rulers’
Haleemzai also slammed the Mohmand administration for behaving more like rulers than civil servants. He said officials were trying to create mistrust between the youth and tribal elders.
About the reforms
He said residents of the agency have suffered greatly and now the administration is trying to impose on them those individuals who do “not understand the first thing about sacrifice”. He announced that any reforms which weaken the position of tribal elders would be strongly opposed.
Haleemzai was against the idea of local government elections in Fata, saying such polls would divide tribal people and jeopardise age-old customs. Taking a swipe at the FATA Reforms Commission, he said officials who have never set foot in a tribal area are sitting in five-star hotels, demanding elections and change in Fata.
The Afghan route
Haleemzai welcomed the visit of the prime minister and chief of army staff to Afghanistan. He believed such tours were important for opening up a trade route between the two countries which would also benefit Mohmand.
The jirga was also addressed by Mohmand Welfare Organisation President Mir Afzal Mohmand, Malik Sahibdad and others. They collectively reaffirmed their bond to tribal customs and said any change to tradition would be resisted.
The Grand Jirga
A 20-member jirga was formed by the elders to inform the political administration about the reservations and grievances of tribesmen. Participants said if their concerns were not addressed, they would call a Mohmand Grand Jirga and subsequently a FATA Grand Jirga.
At a news conference in Peshawar on Tuesday, a group of lawmakers and senators from the tribal areas rejected the draft presented by the FATA Reforms Commission.
MNA Ghazi Gulab Jamal insisted the government hand over key decision-making powers to Fata. “The right to pass legislation regarding the tribal belt and matters concerning planning, development and social sector reforms should be handed over to Fata,” he said. According to the committee’s proposals, the political agent would be made the chairman of the agency council. At the same time, the K-P governor would take charge as the head of the Fata Council.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2015.