FATA: (Equal rights and citizenry for FATA people stressed)

January 20, 2015 Off By Web Desk

ISLAMABAD: Since the people of Federally Administered Tribal Areas are hankering for justice and fundamental human rights, the government should amend the colonial Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) of 1901 and hold local bodies system to empower the people at grassroots level.

Unless there is peace in FATA, it will act like a black hole for whole of Pakistan, this was stated by Imtiaz Gul, the Executive Director, Centre for Research and Security Studies while delivering lecture on “FATA Reforms and Federal Structure of Pakistan: A Way Forward”, here on Wednesday.

The event was organized by the Pakistan Study Group on Federalism (PSGF) at the National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research (NIHCR), Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

Gul said that women have no rights in FATA and the FCR has no clause for women’s right. There has been legislation for women throughout Pakistan but none for women of FATA, he recalled.

To questions, he said no judicial oversight is permitted, since there is a bar to the jurisdiction of superior courts. No legal recourse is available to the population, the Jirga or the elders decide everything, he said.

He said the Political Agents exercise immense power in FATA; they simultaneously exercise the role of executive and judiciary. Judiciary and administrative roles need to be separated in FATA. Article 247 of the constitution must be amended so that the people of FATA may be treated equally and with equity, he observed.

He deplored that there are eight FATA Senators and 12 members of National Assembly but they cannot represent FATA effectively as they are primarily there to serve the mainstream political parties and the ruling elites. In 2011, President

Asif Ali Zardari introduced reforms in the FCR which could not be implemented so far, he recalled.

A collective approach of Parliament is required either to reform or repeal the draconian law of FCR which gives absolute powers to the political administration, he said.

He was of the view that fundamental rights presently being enjoyed by the people of Pakistan must also be extended to the people of FATA. Currently, FATA is directly under the control of the President represented by the provincial Governor who is again represented by a Political Agent in each Agency whereas the legislative authority should be given to the Parliament of Pakistan, he opined.

To a query, Gul said that FATA should be integrated into KPK province so that KPK could back it up with effective financial and administrative support. However, there are some vested interests of selected few who oppose any effective reforms pertaining to the FATA.

To effectively address the grievances of the people of FATA, he stressed for empowering the people administratively, legally and financially.

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