KHAR: After local government elections in neighbouring Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have been completed, political parties in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas have started persistently demanding similar polls in the region and shunning the Frontier Crimes Regulations.
A protest was held by All FATA Political Parties Alliance in Bajaur Agency on Saturday, demanding a local government system where the political administration does not select public representatives.
During the protest held in Khar, leaders of different political parties also decried the draconian set of rules. “FCR is the main hurdle in the development of the tribal areas; it is also against basic human rights and has pushed the region into the dark ages,” said Pakistan Peoples Party leader Aurangzeb Inqalabi while addressing the protesters.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Dr Khalil, who was also present on the occasion, reiterated the protesters’ stance, saying the FCR should be abolished with the consent of locals so that peace can prevail in the region.
Protesters also criticised the administrative system recently proposed by the FATA Reforms Committee. Jamaat-e-Islami FATA President Sahibzada Haroonur Rasheed said the proposed order would be against the spirit of democracy since the political agent will be the chair of the elected councils in the tribal areas. He added superior courts should be extended to the tribal areas where judiciary should be separate from the administration.
The political parties’ leaders said they will continue to protest against the FCR until free and fair local government polls are held in Fata and people elect their leaders instead of officials selecting them.
In a rare show of political unity, the protest was attended by leaders of all political parties bearing their respective flags, while the political administration handled security.
The alliance is a group of major political parties, including ANP, PTI, JUI-F, JI and PPP. The alliance previously voiced their opinions against FATA Reforms Commission in May when it proposed an administrative system where the political agent would chair the agency council whereas the governor would be the chairperson of the FATA council. Political parties also held such protests in last week in Khyber and Mohmand agencies.
Dubbed by many as a draconian law, the decades-old Frontier Crimes Regulation has prompted political parties to protest against it time and gain since it is a set of rules that deprives tribal people of appeal, wakeel (lawyer) and daleel (defence).
Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2015.
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