News Coverage of FATA Committee Election Recommendations 2013 January
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

News Coverage of FATA Committee Election Recommendations 2013 January

on

  • 902 views

 

Statistics

Views

Total Views
902
Views on SlideShare
902
Embed Views
0

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
9
Comments
0

0 Embeds 0

No embeds

Accessibility

Categories

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

News Coverage of FATA Committee Election Recommendations 2013 January News Coverage of FATA Committee Election Recommendations 2013 January Document Transcript

  • POLITICAL PARTIES UNITED IN PUSH FOR FAIR ELECTIONS IN FATA News Coverage of FATA Committee Recommendations on General Elections ‫فاٹا: انتخابات اور سیاسی جماعتوں کے مطالبات‬ BBC Urdu, 8 January 2013 http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2013/01/130108_fata_elections_tim.shtml ‫سیاسی جماعتوں کی کمیٹی برائے فاٹا اصالحات نے الیکشن کمیشن کو تجاویز دے دیں‬ Nawa-e-Waqt , 10 January 2013 *Print edition onlyPolitical parties united on FATA electoral reformsDawn, 8 January 2013http://dawn.com/2013/01/09/political-parties-united-on-fata-electoral-reforms/Security Nightmare (Dawn editorial)Dawn, 10 January 2013http://dawn.com/2013/01/10/security-nightmare/Elections in FATA (Dawn opinion page)The Nation, 11 February 2013http://dawn.com/2013/02/11/elections-in-fata/Govt going to hold first-ever polls in FATAThe Nation, 10 January 2013http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/10-Jan-2013/govt-going-to-hold-first-ever-polls-in-fata2013 elections: FATA Committee set to reach consensus on demandsExpress Tribune, 9 January 2013http://tribune.com.pk/story/491291/2013-elections-fata-committee-set-to-reach-consensus-on-demands/Free, fair elections in FATA: Political parties make recommendations to ECP, NADRAFrontier Post, 9 January 2013http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/201565/ 1
  • Political parties make recommendations to ECP, NADRA for free, fair elections in FATABusiness Recorder, 8 January 2013http://www.brecorder.com/pakistan/general-news/99861.htmlFATA committee explains five key concerns over electionsBusiness Recorder, 9 January 2013http://www.brecorder.com/general-news/172/1141211/Politics on the frontline in FATABy Zia Ur Rehman, The Friday Times, 8 February 2013http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta3/tft/article.php?issue=20130208&page=3Politicians make recommendations to ECP, NADRA for free, fair FATA electionsPakistan Observer, 9 January 2013http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=190719ECP, NADRA Urged to Take Steps for Fair Elections in FATAFATA Research Centre (FRC), 8 January 2013http://frc.com.pk/news/ecp-nadra-urged-to-take-steps-for-fair-elections-in-fata/?utm_source=Pakistan+News+Weekly&utm_medium=FATANews*Also covered in the 9 January 2013 FRC Daily BriefECP Role in IDPs’ Right to VoteBy Khan Zeb Burki, The Lahore Times, 21 January 2013http://www.lhrtimes.com/2013/01/21/ec-role-in-idps-right-to-vote/#ixzz2Kw7Ilu7nPolitical parties show rare unity in push for fair elections in tribal areasNews Pakistan, 8 January 2013http://www.newspakistan.pk/2013/01/08/political-parties-show-rare-unity-push-fair-elections-tribal-areas/Pakistan political parties united in push for fair elections in tribal regionThe Kooza, 8 January 2013http://www.thekooza.com/pakistan-political-parties-united-in-push-for-fair-elections-in-tribal-region/ PDF and Word versions of the accompanying news release: http://goo.gl/LZF6n High resolution photographs of FATA Committee members and events: http://goo.gl/LZF6nPolitical Parties Joint Committee on FATA ReformsMember and Contact Information:Awami National Party (ANP)Latif Afridi, Vice President KPBushra Gohar, MNA, Central Vice PresidentArbab Tahir, General Secretary, Khyber PakhtunkhwaNawabzada Mohsin Ali Khan, Deputy Secretary General CentralJamaat-e-Islami (JI)Mohammad Ibrahim, Professor and Provincial AmeerSahibzada Haroon Rashid, Ameer FATAZarnoor Afridi, Naib Ameer FATA 2
  • Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F)Mohammad Jalal ud din, Advocate, Former AmbassadorAbdul Jalil Jan, Information Secretary, KPMufti Abdul Shakoor, Deputy General Secretary KPAbdur-Rashid, General Secretary BajaurMuttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)Syed Asif Hasnain, MNAMohammad Rehan Hashmi, MNANational Party (NP)Dr. Malik Baloch, PresidentSenator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenju, Vice PresidentMukhtar Bacha, Provincial President, KPIdrees Kamal, Provincial General Secretary, KPPashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP)Akram Shah Khan, Central Secretary GeneralMukhtar Khan Yousafzai, Provincial President, KPRaza Mohammad Raza, Information SecretaryPakistan Muslim League (PML)Ajmal Khan Wazir, Central Senior Vice PresidentPakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)Rehmat Salam Khattak, General Secretary, KPArsallah Khan Hoti, Spokesperson, KPNasir Kamal Marwat, Vice PresidentPakistan People’s Party (PPP)Senator Farhatullah Babar, Spokeperson, President of PakistanKiramat Ullah Chagharmati, Speaker, KP AssemblyRahim Dad Khan, Senior Minister, KPSenator Sardar AliMirza M. Jihadi, Advisor SAFRONQaumi Watan Party (QWP)Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli, General SecretarySikandar Hayat Sherpao, MPA, President, KPAsad Afridi, President, FATAUsman Ali Khalil, Provincial Vice President PDF and Word versions of the accompanying news release: http://goo.gl/LZF6n High resolution photographs of FATA Committee members and events: http://goo.gl/LZF6n fataparties@gmail.com | @FATAparties | http://facebook.com/FATAparties 3
  • ‫فاٹا: انتخابات اور سیاسی جماعتوں کے مطالبات‬ ‫3102 ‪BBC Urdu, 8 January‬‬ ‫‪http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2013/01/130108_fata_elections_tim.shtml‬‬ ‫پاکستان کے صدر آصف علی زرداری نے سنہ دو ہزار گیارہ میں تمام سیاسی جماعتوں کو قبائلی عالقوں میں‬‫سرگرمیاں شروع کرنے کی اجازت دے تو دی لیکن ڈیڑھ سال گزر جانے کے بعد بھی صدر اور وزیر اعظم سے لے کر‬ ‫اکثر بڑی سیاسی جماعتوں کے رہنماؤں نے اس عالقے کا دورہ نہیں کیا ہے۔‬ ‫ادھر پاکستان کی دس سیاسی جماعتوں نے قبائلی عالقوں میں انتخابات سے قبل پانچ اہم اصالحات کا مطالبہ کیا ہے۔‬ ‫پاکستان میں عام انتخابات کی آمد آمد ہے اور اس سے جُڑی انتخابی سرگرمیاں عروج پر ہیں لیکن بظاہر قبائلی عالقوں‬ ‫میں ایسا کچھ نہیں ہو رہا ہے۔‬‫یہ پہلی مرتبہ ہوگا کہ تمام سیاسی جماعتیں کھل کر قبائلی عالقوں میں انتخابات میں حصہ لے سکیں گیں۔ یہ علیحدہ بات‬ ‫ہے کہ موجودہ حکومت کے ساڑھے چار سالوں کے دوران نہ تو صدر، نہ کوئی وزیر اعظم قبائلی عالقے جاسکا ہے‬‫اور نہ ہی سیاسی جماعتوں کی سرگرمیوں پر سے پابندی اٹھنے کے باوجود کسی بڑی سیاسی جماعت کا رہنما وہاں گیا‬ ‫ہے۔‬ ‫پاکستان کی مذہبی جماعتیں جعمیت علمائے اسالم اور جماعت اسالمی پابندی کے دوران بھی اور اب بھی وہاں کافی‬ ‫سرگرم ہیں۔‬‫اب دس سیاسی جماعتوں پر مشتمل ایک کمیٹی نے حکومت سے قبائلی عالقوں میں ووٹروں کے کمپوٹرائزڈ اندراج، نقل‬‫مکانی پر مجبور ڈیڑھ الکھ قبائلیوں کے ووٹ کو یقینی بنانے، ملک کے دیگر حصوں کے طرح قبائلی عالقوں میں بھی‬ ‫عدلیہ کے اہلکاروں کو تعینات کرنے، قبائلی ووٹروں کو گھر کے قریب پولنگ سٹیشن فراہم کرنے اور انتخابی کمیشن‬ ‫سے براہ راست سیاسی جماعتوں سے رابطے کرنے کا مطالبات کیے ہیں۔‬ ‫مسلم لیگ ق کے سینیئر نائب صدر اجمل خان وزیر جن کا تعلق قبائلی عالقوں سے ہے اس کمیٹی کے رکن تھے۔‬ ‫بی بی سی اردو سے بات کرتے ہوئے انہوں نے تسلیم کیا کہ سیاسی قائدین نے ابھی تک قبائلی عالقوں میں جاننے کی‬ ‫کوشش ہی نہیں کی ہے ان کا کہنا ہے کہ ’یہ دورے ہونے چاہیں ورنہ بہت دیر ہو جائے گی‘۔‬‫اجمل خان وزیر کا اِن مطالبات کی وضاحت میں کہنا تھا کہ قبائلی عالقوں میں تمام ووٹروں کا شفاف اندراج ہوا ہی نہیں‬‫ہے۔ اسی وجہ سے ایک امیدوار پانچ تو دوسرا سات ہزار ووٹ لے کر کامیاب ہو رہے تھے۔ ’ہم نے خواتین کے شناختی‬ ‫کارڈ بنانے اور ووٹ کے اندراج کی ضرورت پر بھی زور دیا ہے‘‬ ‫4‬
  • ‫قبائلی عالقوں سے متعلق اس کمیٹی میں عوامی نیشنل پارٹی، جماعت اسالمی، پیپلز پارٹی، جعمیت علمائے اسالم (فضل‬‫الرحمان)، متحدہ قومی مومنٹ، نیشنل پارٹی، پختونخوا ملی عوامی پارٹی، مسلم لیگ (ق)، مسلم لیگ (ن) اور قومی وطن‬ ‫پارٹی کو نمائندگی حاصل تھی۔‬‫ان جماعتوں کے خیال میں انتخابی کمیشن کو ان اصالحات پر فوری طور پر عمل درآمد کروانا ہوگا ورنہ قبائلی عالقوں‬ ‫میں صاف، شفاف اور غیرجانبدارانہ انتخابات کا انعقاد مشکل ہوگا۔‬ ‫کمیٹی نے یہ سفارشات فوری عمل درآمد کے لیے انتخابی کمیشن، صدر اور گورنر خیبر پختونخوا کو ارسال کر دی‬ ‫ہیں۔‬ Translation—In 2011, the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari allowed all political parties to initiate political activities in the tribal areas. But still today, 18 months later, neither the president nor prime minister nor any leader of a major political party has visited the area. Ten political parties representing their parties’ interests in the tribal areas of Pakistan have demanded five major reforms prior to general elections. Elections are fast approaching in Pakistan and election-related activities are on the rise. However, it has been reported that nothing is happening in the tribal areas. For the first time in history, all political parties will be able to participate freely in elections in tribal areas. However, during the four and a half years of the present government’s tenure, neither president nor the prime minister has been able to visit these areas. No leader of any major political party has visited either, despite the lifting of the ban on political activity. Pakistan’s religious parties, JUI-F and JI have been very active there now and were so previously despite the ban on political activity. A committee made up of ten political parties has demanded now from the government that it ensure registration of voters in the tribal areas, facilitate voting of one and half million displaced tribal people, appoint judicial officials in the tribal areas just like other parts of the country, and provide tribal voters with polling stations near their homes. The FATA Committee also demanded direct contact from the election commission with local political party leaders in FATA. Senior Vice President of PML-Q, Ajmal Khan Wazir, who belongs to FATA, is a member of this committee. Speaking to BBC Urdu, he admitted that political leaders have still not tried to visit the tribal areas. He said that "these visits should be made; otherwise it will be too late”. 5
  • Explaining these demands, Ajmal Wazir said that neither transparent nor sufficient voter registration efforts have been made in the tribal area. For this reason, it is possible for a candidate to successfully win a FATA National Assembly constituency with only five thousand or seven thousand votes. “We have also stressed the need of making CNICs available to women and increasing their enrollment in the voter list and participation in elections.” The Political Parties Joint Committee on FATA Reforms counts on the representation of ANP, JI, PPP, JUI-F, MQM, NP, PkMAP, PML, PML-N and QWP. These parties think that the election commission should immediately implement these reforms. Otherwise, it will be difficult to hold fair, transparent and neutral elections in the tribal areas. The committee has sent these recommendations to the Election Commission of Pakistan, President Zardari and the Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for immediate consideration and implementation. ‫سیاسی جماعتوں کی کمیٹی برائے فاٹا اصالحات‬ ‫نے الیکشن کمیشن کو تجاویز دے دیں‬ Nawa-e-Waqt , 10 January 2013 *Print edition only Political parties united on FATA electoral reforms Dawn, 8 January 2013 http://dawn.com/2013/01/09/political-parties-united-on-fata-electoral-reforms/In a significant move, 10 major political parties have jointly submitted their proposals to theElection Commission of Pakistan (ECP) suggesting steps needed to ensure holding of fair,transparent and accessible party-based general election in the tribal areas for the first time in thecountry’s history.A letter containing five recommendations has been sent to Chief Election Commissioner Justice(retd) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim and ECP Secretary Ishtiak Ahmed Khan by the hitherto unknownPolitical Parties Joint Committee on Fata Reforms or Fata Committee. It comprises membersfrom both government and opposition parties.The letter, delivered to the ECP on Tuesday, carries signatures of representatives of the PPP,PML-N, PML-Q, MQM, ANP, JUI-F, JI, National Party, Pakhtunkhawa Milli Awami Party andQaumi Watan Party. 6
  • Talking to Dawn, a member of the committee and senior vice-president of the PML-Q, AjmalKhan Wazir, said political parties had highlighted their concerns requiring immediate action bythe ECP.Mr Wazir, who himself is aspiring for a National Assembly seat from South Waziristan, said thecommittee had been formed some two years ago, but its members managed to finaliserecommendations as recently as last month at a meeting facilitated by the National DemocraticInstitute, a US think tank, in Islamabad.He said the committee was formed to develop a consensus on electoral reforms and amendmentsto the Frontier Crimes Regulation and extension of the Political Parties Order to Fata.The committee recommended that “a targeted campaign should be launched immediately toprovide Fata citizens with computerised national identity cards (CNICs) and to register them asvoters with the ECP”.The campaign, it says, should place special emphasis on women throughout Fata and oninternally displaced persons (IDPs) living in camps in Fata and in adjacent districts.The ECP and Nadra have been asked to communicate schedules of deployment of additionalregistration efforts directly to the leadership of political parties and work together closely and asquickly as possible to ensure that all those receiving new CNICs are also registered to vote.The committee fears that over 150,000 IDPs are facing disenfranchisement in the coming generalelection if they are not allowed to cast votes through special measures.“International law is clear about the voting rights of IDPs and to ensure equal access todemocratic participation, all IDPs from Fata should be provided with the opportunity to vote.Specifically, all citizens residing in camps should be permitted to cast their vote for the candidateof their choice in their home constituency in Fata,” it says.“Due to the security situation, many IDPs are prohibited from returning home and these votersshould be provided with an alternative mechanism for voting in home constituency electionseven while living currently in an IDP camp elsewhere.“At a minimum, absentee voting should be facilitated for Fata IDPs living outside their normalconstituencies in the camps and host communities at Togh Serai camp, New Durrani camp,Jalozai camp, D.I. Khan, Hangu, Kohat, Kurram, Peshawar and Tank.”The letter recalls that Pakistan is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights andthe International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. These charters obligate the state togive the internally displaced the right and opportunity to cast their vote whether they are living incamps or elsewhere.The committee has urged the government to ensure that judicial officers from neighbouringsettled districts should be appointed as returning officers and district returning officers as per adecision taken by the National Judicial Policy Making Committee in November. 7
  • “To ensure equitable election administration throughout Pakistan, this decision should also applyto Fata. As there are no judicial officers in Fata, officers from adjacent districts (Lower Dir,Malakand, Charsadda, Peshawar, Nowshera, Kohat, Karak, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Tank, andD.I. Khan) should be sent to Fata to serve as election officials,” recommends the committee.The committee has requested the ECP to ensure that polling stations are established within twokilometres of voters’ homes in line with a decision of the Supreme Court of June 8 last year.The committee asked the ECP to maintain close coordination with political leaders at the Fataagency level as “it will allow the identification and mitigation of other local election problems asthey arise”.The copies of the letter have been sent to President Asif Ali Zardari, Khyber PakhtunkhawaGovernor Barrister Masood Kausar and Nadra chairman Tariq Malik. Security Nightmare Dawn editorial, 10 January 2013 http://dawn.com/2013/01/10/security-nightmare/A group of individuals representing 10 political parties and brought together by an NGO underthe banner of Political Parties’ Joint Committee on Fata Reforms has produced a set ofrecommendations for the Election Commission of Pakistan to help ensure the next generalelections in Fata are more transparent, fair and representative than polls held earlier in the region.To the extent that a voter registration drive and increasing the number of polling stations willprevent the disenfranchisement of voters in an area that historically has seen some of the lowestturnouts in the country, the recommendations are sensible. However, there is a more fundamentalarea of concern that the recommendations did not touch upon: security. With military operationsongoing in some parts of Fata and militants present in every single tribal agency — though theirpresence varies in intensity — elections in Fata will be trickier than ever.Consider the evidence. Maulana Mirajuddin, the MNA representing the Mehsud area of SouthWaziristan, was killed in May 2010. Over two and a half years later, a by-election is yet to beheld. Bara in Khyber is beset by similarly intractable security problems, as is Orakzai, where amilitary operation is ongoing. North Waziristan remains, of course, a security nightmare aboutwhich little has been done. But the problem is not just of disenfranchisement of voters: evenwhere elections will be possible, voters’ choice will be severely restricted. The TTP has madeclear that secular parties like the ANP and the PPP are major targets of the militants, making itnext to impossible for the candidates of those parties to run a proper campaign in what will bethe first party-based election in Fata. With both of those parties effectively sidelined if securitydoes not improve — and they do have significant support in the tribal belt — the door will openfurther for right-wing religious parties, complicating the already immense difficulties in craftingan effective strategy to fight militancy.Part of the solution may lie in another one of the recommendations of the Fata reformscommittee: allowing absentee voting for IDPs. In the vacant seat of South Waziristan in 8
  • particular, absentee voting along the lines of that permitted in Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK electionswould make much sense. If extended to allow Fata’s electorate to cast their votes in settleddistricts as an alternative, the pressure on parties like the ANP and the PPP could ease somewhat.But such measures will not fundamentally alter the risks candidates will have to confront; in theabsence of overall improved security, elections in Fata could be more unrepresentative than ever. Elections in FATA (Dawn opinion page) By Khadim Hussain, Dawn, 11 February 2013 http://dawn.com/2013/02/11/elections-in-fata/The Joint Committee on Fata Reforms represented by 10 major political parties submitted itsrecommendations to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for holding fair and freeelections in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) some time ago.The committee in its recommendations has suggested steps to be taken by the ECP forsuccessfully holding elections in Fata. This is a significant move and can pave the way for thepolitical mainstreaming and de-radicalisation of the tribal agencies if the federal government, themilitary establishment and the ECP take the necessary measures for holding fair and freeelections in these areas.The extension of the 2002 Political Parties Act to Fata in August 2011 was a move aimed atbringing Fata into Pakistan’s political mainstream. Such mainstreaming, accompanied by effortsat administrative and economic integration is meant to be a harbinger of a genuine politicalprocess in Fata to give the people there an opportunity to participate in the policymaking processof the country.Such participation might bring about an end to the marginalisation that has been Fata’s lot for thepast several decades. It might also neutralise the militant discourse that has permeated the localcommunities, and at the same time be considered the first essential step towards making theresidents of Fata stakeholders in the country’s future. But there are challenges ahead.First, the militant network has spread to almost every agency of Fata especially SouthWaziristan, North Waziristan, Kurram, Orakzai and Khyber. Most of these agencies have beenwitnessing the strangulating social control of the militant network over the past two decades.One can assume that some modicum of normalcy has been restored to the Bajaur, Mohmand andMalakand agencies and some parts of South Waziristan after intermittent military operationsfrom 2009 to 2012.The social control of the militant network in various shades poses a threat to the political processin Fata in general but specifically to all liberal democratic parties. This might severely endangerthe process of genuine representative electioneering in Fata.Second, the civilian administration in almost all agencies of Fata has not yet been allowed tostart functioning routinely. The registration of voters, allotment of polling booths andadministration of electioneering through returning officers might face serious hurdles in theabsence of the writ of the high courts and Supreme Court in Fata. Right from electioncampaigning to the counting of votes, questions may arise pertaining to transparency, especially 9
  • in the case of female voters. Besides, the issue of the hundreds and thousands of internallydisplaced people (IDPs) still lingers.Third, political parties might not be able to openly conduct their election campaigns in thepresence of military checkposts and the stranglehold of the militant network. Ticket-holders ofpolitical parties might face severe resistance from militant networks.It is a matter of satisfaction that the majority of the people in Fata including the IDPs are inclinedto support party-based elections in the area as emerged from interviews conducted with peoplebelonging to different parts of the tribal areas. This gives hope to those who are for reforms,mainstreaming and de-radicalisation in Fata.Certain measures can be suggested to create an enabling environment for holding free and fairelections in the tribal region.First, as has been suggested by the Fata committee, the ECP needs to make urgent arrangementsfor the registration of voters. The ECP also needs to develop a mechanism for the deployment ofreturning officers from the adjoining districts. No progress in this regard has been made so far.The process of the allotment of polling booths that are accessible to voters and booths for theIDPs needs to be planned on an urgent basis due to the fact that in most agencies of Fata, thepopulation is widely scattered.Second, the federal government may develop a mechanism for coordination between the politicaladministration and the military in Fata to ensure the security of both contestants and voters.Specifically, the intelligence wings of the security forces have to make sure that no candidate isabducted, attacked or intimidated by the terror network in Fata before and during the elections.All supply lines of the militant network need to be cut off for the security of both voters andcandidates.Third, all those political parties that wish to participate in the elections in Fata must form analliance to agree on the fundamental principles of the rules of game. The alliance may not benecessarily for the purpose of contesting elections together but for creating an enablingenvironment for polls.Due to the sensitive security and sociopolitical circumstances of Fata, political cooperation is ofutmost importance. Besides agreement on the code of conduct developed by the ECP, politicalparties contesting elections in Fata must agree to safeguard one another against imminentdangers and mobilise voters. They should also facilitate one another in holding corner meetings.Political parties must carry out consultations on an urgent basis to form a strategy forengagement with at least some militant groups with the help of the federal government, theprovincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the military establishment. This move couldslow down militancy during the election season.Civil society organisations, including unions of journalists, working in Fata must formconsortiums to facilitate the registration of voters, help returning officers conduct electioneeringand develop tools for monitoring the elections. Civil society organisations might also form cellsto update the government and political parties on important issues and events in Fata. They might 10
  • also help in developing an enabling environment for dialogue between political administrationsand militant groups.Last but not least the holding of local- bodies polls in Fata immediately after elections isimportant so that the political process becomes the norm at the grassroots level. The time to act isnow. Govt going to hold first-ever polls in FATA The Nation, 10 January 2013http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/10-Jan-2013/govt-going-to-hold-first-ever-polls-in-fataThe government has decided to hold first ever election in the Fata including North WaziristanAgency to bring these areas at par with country’s settled districts and tackle the scourge ofterrorism and extremism politically. Well-placed sources told The Nation on Wednesday thatgovernment is devising a comprehensive security plan to ensure that voters in FederallyAdministered Tribal Areas (Fata) are facilitated to the extent that they could freely exercise theirright to vote.Sources said that a high level meeting would be held soon in the ElectionCommission of Pakistan (ECP) to finalise the election arrangements for Fata where nearly twomillion voters for the first time would directly elect their representatives.Sources further said thatPakistan Army and other law enforcement agencies have been asked to give their input on thesecurity of voters including the internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in the camps who hadleft their homes during military operations.“I have demanded from the election commission to make adequate polling arrangements for theIDPs,” leader of Fata Group in the National Assembly, Munir Khan Orakzai, told The Nation.He confirmed that election on all the 12 National Assembly seats in Fata will be held as result ofextension of Political Parties Act 1973.“Nothing is impossible where there is a political will ofthe government and national consensus,” Pakistan Mulsim League (PML) Vice President AjmalKhan Wazir said in response to question on engaging Taliban in national politics.“This is long term effort and may not be possible in the upcoming elections,” Ajmal said, addinghis party has given due input on electoral reforms in Fata.Military sources acknowledgedelection-related challenges in Fata but said the security forces were all set to discharge thenational duty for ensuring peaceful polling in a secured environment. Ajmal Wazir, who is oneof the members of the Political Parties Joint Committee on Fata Reforms (FATA Committee),said that as many as ten major political parties except PTI have sought urgent action by the ECPin addressing five key concerns to ensure fair, transparent and accessible general elections inFata.He said that 10 political parties making up the Fata Committee recommend that the NationalDatabase and Registration Authority (Nadra) and the ECP take swift measures in Fata to increasecomputerised national identity card (CNIC) issuance and voter registration. Historicallydisenfranchised, Fata voters deserve increased efforts to facilitate their participation in theupcoming general elections, he added. 11
  • In a letter delivered on Wednesday to the ECP and Nadra, the Political Parties Joint Committeeon Fata Reforms submitted the consensus recommendations for their immediate considerationand action. The letter was also delivered to President Asif Ali Zardari, Khyber PakhtunkhwaGovernor Syed Masood Kausar, and the SAFRON Ministry secretary.The committee recommended that the ECP allow internally displaced persons (IDPs) to castvotes from camps and host communities for candidates in their home constituency. Politicalparties also urge government authorities to ensure that judicial officers from neighbouring settleddistricts serve as returning officers and district returning officers, just as has been planned forelections throughout Pakistan.In line with other recommendations from political parties, the Fata Committee requested that theECP ensure polling stations are within two kilometres of voter homes as per by the SupremeCourt directions. It also recommended the ECP regularly meet with the leadership of politicalparties in Fata to address the complex electoral challenges there.2013 elections: FATA Committee set to reach consensus on demandsExpress Tribune, 9 January 2013http://tribune.com.pk/story/491291/2013-elections-fata-committee-set-to-reach-consensus-on-demands/The 10 political parties represented in the Joint Committee on Federally Administered TribalAreas (Fata) Reforms have submitted recommendations to their respective party leaderships toensure free and fair elections in the tribal areas.The recommendations, which include demands to be made to the Election Commission ofPakistan to make the polls more transparent, have been sent to different parties for considerationand feedback, ANP stalwart and central deputy secretary of the committee Nawabzada MohsinAli Khan told The Express Tribune on Tuesday.“Yes, we held a meeting around 12 days earlier in Islamabad, wherein key concerns requiringaction from the ECP were discussed and recommendations have now been submitted to theleaderships of respective parties,” said Khan.“As far as ANP is concerned, the recommendations have been submitted to the party’s centralpresident Asfandyar Wali Khan and he is expected to give his feedback in a week. Other partiesare expected to do the same. It will enable us to make demands and recommendations to the ECPand government for conducting successful general elections in Fata. We will make our demandspublic by mid-January.”The Joint Committee on FATA Reforms was established in 2010 to identify and lobby forreforms through building consensus, increasing awareness and promoting dialogue in the tribalareas. 12
  • Awami National Party (ANP), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Jamiat-e-Ulema-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F),Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), National Party (NP), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party(PKMAP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) are part of the committee.PML-Q Central Senior Vice President Ajmal Khan Wazir said a letter has already been sent tothe ECP, National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), President Asif Ali Zardari,K-P Governor Syed Masood Kausar and the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions, proposingcertain recommendations as “political parties prepare to participate in elections in Fata for thefirst time in history.”Wazir said the decision to allow judicial officers to serve as ECP returning officers and districtofficers should also be extended to Fata.As there are no judicial officers in Fata, officers from adjacent districts (Lower Dir, Malakand,Charsadda, Peshawar, Nowshera, Kohat, Karak, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Tank and DI Khan)should be sent to Fata to serve as election officials, added Wazir.He also cited the Supreme Court’s orders saying polling stations “should not be at a distance ofmore than two kilometres from the place of residence of voters.” He said the decision shouldapply to Fata to ensure equal access for voters.JI leader from Fata, Sahibzada Haroon Rashid urged the prompt registration of voters. He saidthe ECP and NADRA should immediately launch a campaign and work closely with politicalparties to ensure that all those receiving new national identity cards (NICs) are also registered tovote.Rashid said the tribal areas have remained volatile due to sensitive law and order situation foryears and more than 150,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) face disenfranchisement in theupcoming general elections. “All IDPs from Fata should be provided with the opportunity tovote.”He reiterated the committee would make its demands public by mid-January and then push thegovernment for implementation of its recommendations. Free, fair elections in FATA: Political parties make recommendations to ECP, NADRA Frontier Post, 9 January 2013 http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/201565/(APP) As political parties prepare to participate in elections in FATA for the first time in history,the Political Parties Joint Committee on FATA Reforms (FATA Committee) have highlightedfive key concerns that require urgent action by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) toensure free, fair and transparent general elections in FATA. 13
  • In a letter delivered to the ECP and NADRA on Tuesday by political parties leadership, theFATA Committee recommend that the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA)and the ECP must take swift measures in FATA to increase Computerized National Identity Card(CNIC) registration and voter registration.The disenfranchised FATA voters deserve increased efforts to facilitate their participation in theupcoming general elections,they added.The FATA Committee also recommended the ECP to allow internally displaced persons (IDPs)to cast votes from camps and host communities for candidates in their home constituency.Political parties also urged the government authorities to ensure that judicial officers fromneighboring settled districts should serve as returning officers and district returning officers, justas is planned for elections throughout Pakistan.The FATA Committee also requested the ECP to ensure polling stations within two kilometers ofvoters homes as required by the Supreme Court. The FATA Joint Committee recommended theECP regularly meet with the leadership of political parties in FATA to work together inaddressing the numerous and complex electoral challenges in FATA.Ten political parties are represented in the FATA Committee including Awami National Party,Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, National Party,Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, Pakistan Muslim LeagueQuaid-e-Azam, Pakistan Peoples Party and Qaumi Watan Party.The letter was also delivered to President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari, Governor of KhyberPakhtunkhwa Syed Masood Kausar and the Secretary Ministry of SAFRON.The Political Parties Joint Committee on FATA Reforms submitted the consensusrecommendations listed below for their immediate consideration and action.The Political Parties Joint Committee on FATA Reforms (FATA Committee) was established in2010 to identify and advocate for areas of consensus on reform priorities, including amendmentsto the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) and the extension of the Political Parties Order toFATA.Political parties make recommendations to ECP, NADRA for free, fairelections in FATABusiness Recorder, 8 January 2013http://www.brecorder.com/pakistan/general-news/99861.html*APP report; also printed in The Frontier Post as seen above 14
  • FATA committee explains five key concerns over elections Business Recorder, 9 January 2013 http://www.brecorder.com/general-news/172/1141211/As political parties prepare to participate in elections in Fata for the first time in history, thePolitical Parties Joint Committee on Fata Reforms highlights five key concerns that requireurgent action by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure fair, transparent andaccessible general elections.The 10 political parties making up the Fata Committee recommend that the National Databaseand Registration Authority (Nadra) and the ECP take swift measures in Fata to increaseComputerised National Identity Card (CNIC) registration and voter registration. Historicallydisenfranchised, Fata voters deserve increased efforts to facilitate their participation in theupcoming general elections.The committee also recommends that the ECP allow internally displaced persons (IDPs) to castvotes from camps and host communities for candidates in their home constituency. Politicalparties also urge government authorities to ensure that judicial officers from neighbouring settleddistricts serve as returning officers and district returning officers, just as is planned for electionsthroughout Pakistan.In line with other recommendations from political parties, the committee requests that the ECPensure polling stations are within two kilometres of voter homes as required by the SupremeCourt. The committee recommends the ECP regularly meet with the leadership of politicalparties in Fata to work together in addressing the numerous and complex electoral challenges.In a letter delivered on Tuesday to the ECP and Nadra, the committee submitted the consensusrecommendations listed below for their immediate consideration and action. The letter was alsodelivered to President Asif Ali Zardari, Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Syed Masood Kausar,and the Safron Ministry secretary.1. Nadra and the ECP should increase efforts to register Fata voters - A targeted campaignshould be launched immediately to provide Fata citizens with Computerised National IdentityCards (CNIC) and to register them as voters with the ECP. The campaign should place specialemphasis on women throughout Fata and on internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in campsinside Fata and in adjacent districts. By opening additional offices, deploying mobile registrationunits, and expediting processes, the issuing of CNICs for these groups should be improvedsignificantly. The ECP and Nadra should communicate deployment schedules of additionalregistration efforts directly with political party leadership and also work together closely and asquickly as possible to ensure that all those receiving new CNICs are also registered to vote.2. ECP should allow absentee voting for Fata IDPs - More than 150,000 internally displaced Fatacitizens face voter disenfranchisement in upcoming general elections. International law is clearabout the voting rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and to ensure equal access todemocratic participation, all IDPs from Fata should be provided with the opportunity to vote. 15
  • Specifically, all citizens residing in camps should be permitted to cast their vote for the candidateof their choice in their home constituency in Fata. For example, an IDP originally from Bara inKhyber Agency but currently living in the Jalozai IDP camp in Nowshera should be permitted tocast his vote in the NA-46 election from a polling station inside the camp. Due to the securitysituation, many IDPs from Fata are prohibited from returning home. These voters should beprovided with an alternate mechanism for voting in home constituency elections even whileliving currently in an IDP camp elsewhere. At a minimum, absentee voting should be facilitatedfor Fata IDPs living outside their normal constituencies in the following camps and hostcommunities: Togh Serai camp, New Durrani camp, Jalozai camp, D.I. Khan, Hangu, Kohat,Kurram, Peshawar and Tank.The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, Article 21), the International Conventionon Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, Article 25) and the United Nations Guiding Principles onInternal Displacement (UNGPID) indicate that IDPs must be provided the right and opportunityto vote in elections, whether or not they are living in camps. Pakistan is a signatory to the UDHRand the ICCPR and therefore obligated to protect the political and human rights of its citizens inFata.3. Judicial officers should serve as election officials in Fata - On November 17, 2012, theNational Judicial Policy Making Committees (NJPMC) decided to allow judicial officers toserve as ECP returning officers and district returning officers in the upcoming general elections.To ensure equitable election administration throughout Pakistan, this decision should also applyto Fata. As there are no judicial officers in Fata, officers from adjacent districts (Lower Dir,Malakand, Charsadda, Peshawar, Nowshera, Kohat, Karak, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Tank, andD.I. Khan) should be sent to Fata to serve as election officials.4. ECP should provide polling stations two kilometres from voters - As directed by the SupremeCourt of Pakistan in Constitutional Petition No 87 of 2011 (order dated June 8, 2012), article 28,page 31, polling stations should not be "at a distance of more than two kilometres from the placeof residence of voters". To ensure equal access for voters throughout Pakistan, this decisionshould also apply to Fata.5. ECP should engage directly with political party leaders in Fata - The Fata Committee andagency-level political party leaders in Fata are open and available for direct negotiations andproblem-solving with the ECP regarding the implementation of the recommendations above.Fata voices are typically excluded from national-level dialogue with political parties and shouldbe included in direct provincial-level outreach initiated by the ECP. Additionally, close co-ordination between ECP officials and political party leaders at the Fata agency level will allowthe identification and mitigation of other local election problems as they arise.The Political Parties Joint Committee on Fata Reforms was established in 2010 to identify andadvocate for areas of consensus on reform priorities, including amendments to the FrontierCrimes Regulation (FCR) and the extension of the Political Parties Order to Fata. The committeeengages in discussions with stakeholders from Fata as a way to build consensus, increaseawareness and promote dialogue on existing and future reforms in the tribal areas.With complete support from political party leadership, 10 political parties are represented on theFata Committee: Awami National Party (ANP), Jamaate Islami (JI), Jamiat Ulemae Islam F 16
  • (JUI-F), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), National Party (NP), Pashtunkhwa Milli AwamiParty (PkMAP), Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-e-Azam (PML), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP).Politicians make recommendations to ECP, NADRAfor free, fair FATA electionsPakistan Observer, 9 January 2013http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=190719*APP report; also printed in The Frontier Post as seen above Politics on the frontline in FATA By Zia Ur Rehman, The Friday Times, 8 February 2013 http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta3/tft/article.php?issue=20130208&page=3For the first time in the countrys history, political parties will participate in general elections in themilitant-infested tribal areas expected in May this year.In August 2011, President Asif Ali Zardari introduced a regulation to amend the Frontier CrimesRegulation (FCR) under Article 247 of the Constitution and also extended the Political Parties Act(PPA) 2002 to the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), allowing political parties tooperate there as they do elsewhere in Pakistan.Prior to the extension, FATAs 12 members in the National Assembly and eight members in theSenate were elected independently and could not join any political party. The same restrictionsapplied to its senators. In the wake of the extension of the act, tribal candidates for the first time willbe allotted symbols of their respective political parties in the next general elections. Until theintroduction of adult franchise in 1996, the elections in tribal areas were based on selective voting,meaning that some 35,000 maliks (elders) were entitled to cast vote.The terrain of FATA lies between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Balochistan and the neighboringAfghanistan. It consists of seven tribal agencies - Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Kurram, Orakzai,North Waziristan and South Waziristan - and six Frontier Regions (FRs) - FR Peshawar, FR Kohat,FR Bannu, FR Lakki Marwat, FR Tank and FR DI Khan. The region has a total area of 27,220square kilometers, and is almost entirely inhabited by Pashtun tribes.Since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s and especially the US arrival in 2001, theregion has become a hub of militancy. The area is considered to be the epicenter of violence inAfghanistan and Pakistan and a major source of international terrorism. All the seven tribal agenciesand adjacent FRs have been affected by the rise of militancy and the military operations carried outin response. 17
  • "The people of FATA are very thankful to President Zardari who has lifted a 64-year ban last year onactivities of political parties in seven tribal agencies of FATA," said Akhundzada Chattan, aparliamentarian elected from Bajaur Agency and a leader of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). He saidthe reforms would not only pave the way for political and economic empowerment of tribal peoplebut also help in eradicating militancy in the region.Liberal political parties may not be able to run election campaigns in FATA because of securitythreats. That will help groups or candidates that are soft on Taliban."The PPA has encouraged political parties to boost their efforts for politicking," said Jan Achakzai, apolitical analyst who monitors FATA affairs very closely. "Candidates from various agencies havealready started using billboards, sloganeering, pamphlets, and openly showing their politicalaffiliations."The Awami National Party (ANP), the Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf(PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are the keypolitical parties operating in FATA. Political observers agree that the JUI-F is the only political partythat has a strong organizational structure and support in FATA, which mainly relies on a largenetwork of madrassas and mosques. In October, the JUI-F formed a 32-member committeeconsisting of leaders from the seven tribal agencies and six FRs of FATA under the leadership ofMufti Abdul Shakoor for the preparation of the general elections.More than 150,000 internally displaced people may be disenfranchisedBut influential independent politicians who win the elections in FATA on the basis of tribal strengthand wealth are not happy with the extension of the PPA in the tribal areas. "The political process inFATA will ultimately stop the buying and selling of votes in the tribal areas," said Gul MuhammadMamond, an activist from Bajaur Agency.Achakzai believes that independent candidates will remain an important factor in the comingelections, but they will be under increasing pressure from opponents backed by political parties.Some independent politicians have already started lobbying for tickets from political parties.But many political parties are reluctant to start organizational and electoral activities in the volatileregion. In the year and a half since the PPA was extended to the tribal areas, only religious politicalparties have been able to hold public rallies or even indoor political meetings.In October, PTI chief Imran Khan led a rally against US drone attacks to Tank but couldnt enterSouth Waziristan. Even President Zardari, who is also the co-chairperson of Pakistans largestpolitical party and a direct administrator of FATA, has not visited the region.Internally displaced people gather for registration upon their arrival at the Jalozai campPolitical leaders and activists in FATA fear they may not be able to run election campaigns becauseof security threats. They believe Taliban militants might influence the elections with terror, andsecurity agencies have repeatedly warned the political and religious figures of the KP province andtribal areas of threats to their lives. 18
  • "All political parties are facing such challenges," Achakzai said. Liberal political parties may not beable to run proper election campaigns in FATA because of security threats. That will help groups orcandidates that are soft on Taliban militants," said an ANP leader from North Waziristan. He saidthat leaders of ANP and PPP are cut off from the people because of security fears, and that is sendingthe voters away towards right-wing political parties such as JUI-F, PTI, JI and the PML-N.In the 2008 elections, polling was conducted on 11 seats of the National Assembly in FATA,excluding NA-42 of South Waziristan, which consists of Mehsud areas. This seat has been lyingvacant because of the law and order situation and the ongoing military operation in the constituency.Because of military operations against Taliban militants in various tribal agencies, especially SouthWaziristan and Khyber, the local population has been displaced from their areas. Political observersfear that over 150,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are facing disenfranchisement in thecoming general election if they are not allowed to cast votes through special measures. "Due to thesecurity situation, many IDPs are prohibited from returning home. These voters should be providedwith an alternative mechanism for voting in their home constituencies," said the Joint Committee onFATA Reforms, a committee established in 2010 to identify and lobby for reforms through buildingconsensus and promoting dialogue in the tribal areas. Ismail Mehsud, a leader of ANP, said theElection Commission of Pakistan should make arrangements for holding elections in volatile areaslike NA-42 or Khyber Agency at alternative places, including Karachi, where the displaced peoplefrom these tribal areas live.ECP, NADRA Urged to Take Steps for Fair Elections in FATAFATA Research Centre (FRC), 8 January 2013http://frc.com.pk/news/ecp-nadra-urged-to-take-steps-for-fair-elections-in-fata/?utm_source=Pakistan+News+Weekly&utm_medium=FATANews*Also covered in the 9 January 2013 FRC Daily Brief As political parties prepare to participate in elections in FATA for the first time in history, the Political Parties Joint Committee on FATA Reforms (FATA Committee) highlights five key concerns that require urgent action by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure fair, transparent and accessible general elections in FATA.The key recommendations of the Committee include urgent registration of voters, allowingabsentee voting for FATA IDPs, appointment of judicial officers as ECP returning officials andsetting up polling stations not more than two km away from voters’ residences. It alsorecommends that ECP should directly coordinate with political parties for holding fair elections.The 10 major political parties, leaving Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf aside, making up the FATACommittee recommend that the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and theECP take swift measures in FATA to increase Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC)registration and voter registration. Historically disenfranchised, FATA voters deserve increasedefforts to facilitate their participation in the upcoming general elections. 19
  • The FATA Committee also recommends that the ECP allow internally displaced persons (IDPs)to cast votes from camps and host communities for candidates in their home constituency.Political parties also urge government authorities to ensure that judicial officers fromneighboring settled districts serve as returning officers and district returning officers, just as isplanned for elections throughout Pakistan.In line with other recommendations from political parties, the FATA Committee requests that theECP ensure polling stations are within two kilometers of voter homes as required by theSupreme Court. The FATA Joint Committee recommends the ECP regularly meet with theleadership of political parties in FATA to work together in addressing the numerous and complexelectoral challenges in FATA.In a letter delivered today to the ECP and NADRA, the Political Parties Joint Committee onFATA Reforms submitted the consensus recommendations listed below for their immediateconsideration and action. The letter was also delivered to President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari,Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Syed Masood Kausar, and the SAFRON Ministry secretary.The Political Parties Joint Committee on FATA Reforms (FATA Committee) was established in2010 to identify and advocate for areas of consensus on reform priorities, including amendmentsto the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) and the extension of the Political Parties Order toFATA. The committee engages in discussions with stakeholders from FATA as a way to buildconsensus, increase awareness and promote dialogue on existing and future reforms in the tribalareas.With complete support from political party leadership, 10 political parties are represented on theFATA Committee: Awami National Party (ANP), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam F(JUI-F), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), National Party (NP), Pashtoonkhwa Milli AwamiParty (PkMAP), Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP).It is noticeable that Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) is not the part of FATA Committee.The FATA Committee has also advertised its activities on social media while launching aFacebook page and Twitter on December 22 last year which has ironically only “5 likes” and “4followers” so far. 20
  • ECP Role in IDPs’ Right to VoteBy Khan Zeb Burki, The Lahore Times, 21 January 2013http://www.lhrtimes.com/2013/01/21/ec-role-in-idps-right-to-vote/#ixzz2Kw7Ilu7nDemocracy is an incomplete system without the exercise of equal rights and people’sparticipation. People of Federally Administered Tribal Areas were deprived of this equal right tovote before 1997 as only Tribal Elders or Maliks were enjoying the same. There wereapprehensions about bloodshed during the first general elections in FATA due to no ban on theshow of arms in the area. But the political maturity of the tribesmen astonished the world whenthe results of the elections contradicted the presupposed apprehensions.The Political Parties Act will enable the people to enjoy the rights to be members of politicalparties of their choice and to vote for nominated candidates. The tribesmen are ambitious toorganize political gatherings and demonstrations to eliminate the environment of fear from theregion. But the political parties leadership is reluctance to start political gathering and electioncampaign to mobilize and educate the people as in other parts of the country due to fear ofmilitant attacks. The religious parties are active in the tribal belt to increase the membership andenlist the people support in the upcoming general elections.The secular and liberal parties are waiting to mend way to FATA for political campaign. Lastweek, the Political Parties Joint Committee on FATA Reforms consisted of ten parties hasforwarded five point agenda to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure free, fairand transparent elections in the tribal belt. The Election Commission should consider thesepoints including registration of votes, allowing IDPs to vote from the camps, judicial officers tobe returning officers, polling station in every two kilometers, and the Election Commissionshould be in contact with the political leaders of FATA.The Joint Committee recommended swift measure to issue Computerized Identity Cards for thepurpose of using these in future voting. But the committee may not know that NADRA hascreated problem instead of solving the problems of the people. Thousands of IDPs from SouthWaziristan, who have applied for the cards, are knocking the door of NADRA regional offices tocollect their card. On the other hand, most of them heard the phrase “Your ID card is blockedseveral times, with suggestion to contact NADRA head office in Islamabad. When they came toIslamabad, they were referred back to their regional office. Some officers of NADRA suggestedthem to contact their Political Agent for sending a request to the NADRA Head Office in thisregard. According to NADRA Regional officer, these people have applied for IDPs registrationas well as CNIC; therefore, the request cannot be processed due to multiple applies. Strangely,NADRA has not taken the decision yet from the last two or three years about the fate of theselingering requests. The IDPs face harsh behavior of security forces or sometimes punishment atdifferent check posts for having no Identity Card. The need is to send NADRA mobile teams tothe region and ensure swift registration of the male and female populous of FATA. 21
  • Fortunately, the political parties have realized that FATA should have political rights, and freeand fair elections are the right of this democratically deprived region. Vote, a political rightenable the people to choose the representatives of their choice. But how may they choose therepresentatives, as most part of FATA is under the shadow of gun, and military operations haveforced hundreds of thousands tribesmen to leave their hometowns mostly from South Waziristan,Orakzai, Kurram and Khyber agencies.The IDPs have spread across the country. Their votes have been registered in the area where theytook shelter. This mass movement has put the political future of FATA into danger. A viabledemand of joint committee should be given honest and earnest attention. The ECP’s efforts toenlist voters have negative impact on FATA politics due to their registration in other areas. Thepolitical parties have not yet fulfilled its responsibilities of mobilizing the people of FATA onvote registration and its importance. Due to their existing economic and social problems, it hasbecome difficult for the IDPs to take part in politics. They hardly earn their livelihood andbegging for rations in the camps. These problems have made them unaware of the importance ofvote and their political future. The EC representatives should go from camp to camp and door todoor to ensure the registration of voters and a special committee should be established tofacilitate the process in the recommend areas by the Joint Committee as well as other big citieslike Karachi, Quetta, Lahore and Islamabad where IDPs have migrated.After the completion of registration process, the voters should be allowed to vote for therepresentatives of their choice in their home constituencies. This suggestion is not newphenomenon as we are practicing the same thing for the elections of representatives of KashmirAssembly. The Election Commission should establish polling stations for the people of FATA inall big cities where IDPs have chosen to live until they are not allowed to return theirhometowns. If the demands of vote facilities are ignored, the political future of FATA will bebleak and dark. Not only millions of people will be deprived of the right of vote but true people’srepresentatives will also not be chosen. So once again, the future of FATA will be more insecureand dangerous. It is high time that the Election Commission should open it branch in FATA toaddress the grievances of people, and ensure fair and transparent elections.If necessary measures are not taken and the displaced people have been deprived of their right tovote in the upcoming elections, the conservative view as well as fanatic ideology with traditionalapproach will affect the future of FATA with its worst types of implications.The writer is an M. Phil Scholar and Tribal Affairs Analyst 22
  • Political parties show rare unity in push for fair elections in tribal areasNews Pakistan, 8 January 2013http://www.newspakistan.pk/2013/01/08/political-parties-show-rare-unity-push-fair-elections-tribal-areas/All major political and religious parties have shown rare unityto call on the country’s election commission to ensure fair,transparent and accessible general elections in the insurgency-hit FATA or the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.The call from the Political Parties Joint Committee on FATAReforms (FATA Committee) came just months ahead of theparliamentary polls as political parties prepare to participate inelections in FATA for the first time in history. The forum has highlighted five key concerns thatrequire urgent action by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).The 10 political parties making up the FATA Committee recommend that the National Databaseand Registration Authority (NADRA) and the ECP take swift measures in FATA to increaseComputerized National Identity Card (CNIC) registration and voter registration. Historicallydisenfranchised, FATA voters deserve increased efforts to facilitate their participation in theupcoming general elections.The FATA Committee also recommends that the ECP allow internally displaced persons (IDPs)to cast votes from camps and host communities for candidates in their home constituency.Political parties also urge government authorities to ensure that judicial officers fromneighboring settled districts serve as returning officers and district returning officers, just as isplanned for elections throughout Pakistan.In line with other recommendations from political parties, the FATA Committee requests that theECP ensure polling stations are within two kilometers of voter homes as required by theSupreme Court. The FATA Joint Committee recommends the ECP regularly meet with theleadership of political parties in FATA to work together in addressing the numerous and complexelectoral challenges in FATA.In a letter delivered on Tuesday to the ECP and NADRA, the Political Parties Joint Committeeon FATA Reforms submitted the consensus recommendations listed below for their immediateconsideration and action. The letter was also delivered to President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari,Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Syed Masood Kausar, and the SAFRON Ministry secretary.1. NADRA and the ECP should increase efforts to register FATA voters - A targeted campaignshould be launched immediately to provide FATA citizens with Computerized National Identity 23
  • Cards (CNIC) and to register them as voters with the ECP. The campaign should place specialemphasis on women throughout FATA and on internally displaced persons (IDPs) living incamps inside FATA and in adjacent districts. By opening additional offices, deploying mobileregistration units, and expediting processes, the issuing of CNICs for these groups should beimproved significantly. The ECP and NADRA should communicate deployment schedules ofadditional registration efforts directly with political party leadership and also work togetherclosely and as quickly as possible to ensure that all those receiving new CNICs are alsoregistered to vote.2. ECP should allow absentee voting for FATA IDPs - More than 150,000 internally displacedFATA citizens face voter disenfranchisement in upcoming general elections. International law isclear about the voting rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and to ensure equal access todemocratic participation, all IDPs from FATA should be provided with the opportunity to vote.Specifically, all citizens residing in camps should be permitted to cast their vote for the candidateof their choice in their home constituency in FATA. For example, an IDP originally from Bara inKhyber Agency but currently living in the Jalozai IDP camp in Nowshera should be permitted tocast his vote in the NA-46 election from a polling station inside the camp. Due to the securitysituation, many IDPs from FATA are prohibited from returning home. These voters should beprovided with an alternate mechanism for voting in home constituency elections even whileliving currently in an IDP camp elsewhere. At a minimum, absentee voting should be facilitatedfor FATA IDPs living outside their normal constituencies in the following camps and hostcommunities: Togh Serai camp, New Durrani camp, Jalozai camp, D.I. Khan, Hangu, Kohat,Kurram, Peshawar and Tank.The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, Article 21), the International Conventionon Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, Article 25) and the United Nations Guiding Principles onInternal Displacement (UNGPID) indicate that IDPs must be provided the right and opportunityto vote in elections, whether or not they are living in camps. Pakistan is a signatory to the UDHRand the ICCPR and therefore obligated to protect the political and human rights of its citizens inFATA.3. Judicial officers should serve as election officials in FATA - On November 17, 2012, theNational Judicial Policy Making Committee’s (NJPMC) decided to allow judicial officers toserve as ECP returning officers and district returning officers in the upcoming general elections.To ensure equitable election administration throughout Pakistan, this decision should also applyto FATA. As there are no judicial officers in FATA, officers from adjacent districts (Lower Dir,Malakand, Charsadda, Peshawar, Nowshera, Kohat, Karak, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Tank, andD.I. Khan) should be sent to FATA to serve as election officials.4. ECP should provide polling stations two kilometres from voters - As directed by the SupremeCourt of Pakistan in Constitutional Petition No. 87 of 2011 (order dated June 8, 2012), article 28,page 31, polling stations should not be “at a distance of more than two kilometres from the place 24
  • of residence of voters”. To ensure equal access for voters throughout Pakistan, this decisionshould also apply to FATA.5. ECP should engage directly with political party leaders in FATA - The FATA Committee andagency-level political party leaders in FATA are open and available for direct negotiations andproblem-solving with the ECP regarding the implementation of the recommendations above.FATA voices are typically excluded from national-level dialogue with political parties andshould be included in direct provincial-level outreach initiated by the ECP. Additionally, closecoordination between ECP officials and political party leaders at the FATA agency level willallow the identification and mitigation of other local election problems as they arise.The Political Parties Joint Committee on FATA Reforms (FATA Committee) was established in2010 to identify and advocate for areas of consensus on reform priorities, including amendmentsto the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) and the extension of the Political Parties Order toFATA. The committee engages in discussions with stakeholders from FATA as a way to buildconsensus, increase awareness and promote dialogue on existing and future reforms in the tribalareas.With complete support from political party leadership, 10 political parties are represented on theFATA Committee: Awami National Party (ANP), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam F(JUI-F), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), National Party (NP), Pashtoonkhwa Milli AwamiParty (PkMAP), Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-e-Azam (PML), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP).Pakistan political parties united in push for fair elections in tribal regionThe Kooza, 8 January 2013http://www.thekooza.com/pakistan-political-parties-united-in-push-for-fair-elections-in-tribal-region/*A combination of several articles seen above PDF and Word versions of the accompanying news release: http://goo.gl/LZF6n High resolution photographs of FATA Committee members and events: http://goo.gl/LZF6n fataparties@gmail.com | @FATAparties | http://facebook.com/FATAparties ### 25