FATA Committee News Release: First Party-based Elections in FATA History (14 March 2013 English)
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FATA Committee News Release: First Party-based Elections in FATA History (14 March 2013 English)

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Political Parties Campaign in Historic FATA Elections. URDU version of the news release available here: http://www.slideshare.net/FATAparties/fata-committee-news-release-14-march-2013-urdu ---- For a ...

Political Parties Campaign in Historic FATA Elections. URDU version of the news release available here: http://www.slideshare.net/FATAparties/fata-committee-news-release-14-march-2013-urdu ---- For a Microsoft Word version of the press release, visit the following link: https://docs.google.com/folder/d/0B7rCHTKtHTewQ3hzRFU1aVdPUWM/edit?usp=sharing

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FATA Committee News Release: First Party-based Elections in FATA History (14 March 2013 English) Document Transcript

  • 1. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 14, 2013Urdu version of this news release can be downloaded at: http://goo.gl/LZF6nContact: Political Parties Joint Committee on FATA Reforms fataparties@gmail.com http://facebook.com/FATAparties http://twitter.com/FATAparties See additional contact information for members of the committee below POLITICAL PARTIES CAMPAIGN IN HISTORIC FATA ELECTIONSISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Following the extension of the Political Parties Order to FATA in2011, this year marks the year that political parties will seek election in the tribal areas for thefirst time ever. As general elections approach, political party candidates are actively preparingtheir campaigns for MNA seats to represent FATA voters in the National Assembly of Pakistan.As political parties prepare to participate in the first party-based elections in FATA history, thePolitical Parties Joint Committee on FATA reforms (FATA Committee) came together onThursday to present their assessment of the pre-election environment in FATA and their visionfor further political reforms. The parties highlighted many shortcomings in the implementationof the Political Parties Order extension and ongoing obstacles to their free operation in the tribalareas.After recently welcoming the addition of PTI to the group of 11 political parties, the FATACommittee also convened this week 53 political party leaders from the seven agencies andfrontier regions of FATA to discuss the realities of campaigning in FATA and the status ofimplementation of 2011 FATA reforms, including amendments to the Frontier CrimesRegulation (FCR). Tribal political party leaders indicated that political agents, the securityestablishment and militants are all responsible for restricting their ability to operate freely inFATA.In December, the FATA Committee highlighted five key concerns requiring urgent action by theElection Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure fair, transparent and accessible generalelections in FATA. Unfortunately, the ECP has thus far only responded to one of those fiverecommendations as the Election Commission has recently made assurances that many of themore than 600,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) will be provided with polling stations inFATA Committee News Release, March 14, 2013 1
  • 2. IDP camps as well as in the host communities where they now are living. Displaced by violentconflict, FATA IDPs deserve the same right to vote as all Pakistanis. The FATA Committee willbe monitoring this process closely to ensure that the ECP provides free and fair access to votingfor all FATA IDPs. Visit http://slideshare.net/FATAparties for the full text of the FATACommittee’s December 2012 elections recommendations.1Following deliberations in Islamabad this week, tribal leaders from nine of the committee’seleven political parties2 agreed on 40 additional consensus recommendations for free and fairelections in FATA and the effective implementation of previously enacted FATA reforms. Theserecommendations require immediate consideration and tribal party leaders demanded that manyof them be enacted before general elections.FATA political party leaders highlighted that parties are currently not able to operate freely inmany agencies and frontier regions, due to the law and order situation as well as obstacles put inplace by the State, including intelligence agencies, political agents, the army, some FATA elite,as well as national and international terrorist groups. All of these elements are working againstthe political participation of FATA citizens and restrict political parties from visiting their voters.The tribal leaders also stated that intelligence agencies regularly intimidate them and theirpolitical workers and prevent movement in their areas.The following 40 recommendations were consensus points, approved by all tribal political partyleaders in attendance:1) The 2011 Political Parties Order extension and Frontier Crimes Regulation amendments are not being implemented properly by the political administration and the security establishment. Implementation should be monitored and enforced by the government.2) Political parties should be permitted to hold corner meetings without restrictions or advance notice. The requirement of asking permission or notifying the PA for all meetings in advance is not realistic and puts political parties at risk of attack. Large public gatherings or rallies should be notified one week in advance. No permission should be required.3) Political parties should be given free and open access and also necessary security to travel to and operate in FATA.4) Political parties should include FATA democracy and FATA reforms in their national party manifestoes for general elections.5) Political parties must not “sell” tickets for MNA seats. The Election Commission should implement and enforce a ban on this anti-democratic activity.1 The December 2012 elections recommendations were submitted to the President of Pakistan, the ElectionCommission, NADRA, the SAFRON Ministry and the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.2 MQM and PTI party leaders from the agencies and frontier regions could not attend due to scheduling conflicts.Their party leadership, however, did meet with the FATA Committee this week.FATA Committee News Release, March 14, 2013 2
  • 3. 6) Many maliks continue to sell the votes of their people for money. This practice should be prohibited by the Election Commission and any “vote buying” activities should be punishable by law, including the disqualification of candidates violating the regulation.7) Reserved MNA seats for FATA women should be established, giving them the same special representation as in the rest of Pakistan.8) To ensure increased women’s participation in elections, women’s polling stations should be provided in all agencies and frontier regions.9) The frontier regions constituency NA-47 is too large and too spread out for effective representation. The constituency should be divided on the basis of population.10) No political activity is taking place so far in the NA-42 constituency in South Waziristan. The government should take swift action to ensure that free and fair elections may take place in this constituency.11) Political awareness remains low throughout FATA. Government, political parties, civil society and the international community should work together to educate FATA citizens about the political process.12) PEMRA jurisdiction should be extended to FATA. Access and security should also be provided to media so that they can enter FATA freely and better cover elections and political parties.13) Many journalists are “for sale”, intimidated and pressured by the State and security establishment. To decrease this corruption and biased reporting, more private media should be given increased access and security in FATA.14) The government and the Election Commission should investigate journalists who are blackmailing political agents and/or political parties.15) National and international media should send their own independent journalists to FATA and ensure that they report accurately and in-depth on local problems and news in FATA.16) Polling stations should be no more than 2km from voters’ homes to increase political participation in FATA.17) Security should be ensured at all polling stations and no polling station should be shifted after being previously established or announced.18) FATA voters should have access to polling stations in their own village and not be forced to travel to another village to participate in elections.19) The political parties Code of Conduct published by the Election Commission of Pakistan must also apply to elections in FATA.20) The Election Commission must monitor the free and fair administration of elections in FATA.21) The ECP should make regulations specifically for free and fair elections in FATA.22) Judicial officers should be deployed as returning officers in general elections.23) The political agent should support the participation of all FATA society in political activity and the upcoming general elections.FATA Committee News Release, March 14, 2013 3
  • 4. 24) All FATA IDPs should be provided the right to vote in the location of their displacement, regardless if they are living in camps or in host communities.25) IDPs from all frontier regions should be officially recognized by the government and also given the right to vote in the location of their displacement.26) FATA should also be represented in the federal cabinet of the caretaker government set-up.27) International observers should be given permission to monitor elections in FATA.28) FATA elite should be stopped from working together with the State to prevent the free operation of political activity in FATA.29) Increased CNIC and voter registration efforts are sorely needed in FATA. NADRA should deploy mobile registration vans: as many and as soon as possible.30) Blocked CNICs of FATA citizens should be unblocked with the approval of tribal elders.31) All voter registration forms submitted prior to the announcement of elections must be accepted and added to the voter list.32) The political agent must not show favoritism toward any political party candidate or any independent candidate.33) The governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa must not interfere in or influence elections in FATA.34) Public funds allocated to sitting MNAs must not be utilized for their election campaigns. The Election Commission must enforce a ban on the use of these funds for campaign purposes. FATA MNA and Senator funds should be used only for development schemes and should not be misused for corrupt purposes.35) Corruption by political agents must be investigated and stopped. Political agent appointments are “for sale” in FATA and this practice must be stopped.36) Political agents should expedite the issuance of birth, death, marriage and disability certificates to FATA citizens. These services are very poorly administered and must be improved.37) The army is part of the problem, not part of the solution. The security establishment should stop its involvement with terrorist and militant organizations.38) Further amendments to the Frontier Crimes Regulation are needed.39) The United Nations and other international organizations should make public statements about the lack of human and political rights in FATA.40) All of these recommendations should be implemented and enforced immediately, prior to the day of general elections 2013.These recommendations will be submitted for immediate consideration and action to the newcaretaker government as well as the President of Pakistan, the Election Commission, NADRA,the SAFRON Ministry, the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the FATA Secretariat.Unlike the rest of Pakistan, FATA voters do not enjoy the same legislative representation oraccountability as other Pakistani citizens. This is true because Article 247 of the Constitution ofFATA Committee News Release, March 14, 2013 4
  • 5. the Islamic Republic of Pakistan prevents FATA MNAs (and all members of the NationalAssembly) from legislating for FATA. Despite this restriction on political rights and until thesituation is corrected, FATA citizens still deserve MNAs that represent their needs and desiresfor democratic development and an improved standard of living.With complete support from political party leadership, 11 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), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Qaumi WatanParty (QWP).In 2010, the Political Parties Joint Committee on FATA Reforms began working together todemonstrate their shared commitment to promoting debate throughout Pakistan and to call forthe implementation of reforms in the tribal areas. Today, the 11 member parties of the FATACommittee continue to engage in discussions with stakeholders from FATA to build consensus,increase awareness and promote dialogue on existing and future reforms. PDF and Word versions of this news release in English and Urdu: http://goo.gl/LZF6n High resolution photographs of FATA Committee members and events: http://goo.gl/LZF6n Links to the news release and photos: http://twitter.com/FATApartiesFor more information and interviews, please contact the members of the FATA Committee.Contact details are indicated below.Political 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 Pakhtunkhwa, 0333-939-3223, arbab@anp.orgNawabzada Mohsin Ali Khan, Deputy Secretary General CentralJamaat-e-Islami (JI)Mohammad Ibrahim, Professor and Provincial Ameer, muhammadibrahimk5@gmail.comSahibzada Haroon Rashid, Ameer FATA, 0300-516-2577Zarnoor Afridi, Naib Ameer FATAJamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F)Mohammad Jalal ud din, Advocate, Former AmbassadorAbdul Jalil Jan, Information Secretary, KP, 0333-910-7831, abduljalil_jan@yahoo.comMufti Abdul Shakoor, Deputy General Secretary KPAbdur-Rashid, General Secretary BajaurFATA Committee News Release, March 14, 2013 5
  • 6. Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)Syed Asif Hasnain, MNA, 0300-927-7831, asifhasnain_255@yahoo.comMohammad Rehan Hashmi, MNANational Party (NP)Dr. Malik Baloch, PresidentSenator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenju, Vice PresidentMukhtar Bacha, Provincial President, KP, 0333-910-7133, mukhtarbacha@gmail.comIdrees 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 President, 0300-579-1779, ajmalkwazir@gmail.comPakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)Rehmat Salam Khattak, General Secretary, KP, 0300-589-3705, pmlnkpk@gmail.comArsallah 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 SAFRON, 0300-598-4198, mirzamohdjihad@hotmail.comPakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)Barrister Salman Afridi, Political Strategy Committee KP, 0345-888-6994, salmanafridi@hotmail.comJaved Afridi, Elections in FATAQaumi Watan Party (QWP)Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli, General SecretarySikandar Hayat Sherpao, MPA, President, KPAsad Afridi, President, FATA, 0333-937-5165, asadafridi18@yahoo.comUsman Ali Khalil, Provincial Vice President PDF and Word versions of this news release in English and Urdu: http://goo.gl/LZF6n High resolution photographs of FATA Committee members and events: http://goo.gl/LZF6n Links to the news release and photos: http://twitter.com/FATAparties fataparties@gmail.com | @FATAparties | http://facebook.com/FATAparties ###FATA Committee News Release, March 14, 2013 6