Press Release: Tribals present FATA Declaration to President Zardari (English, 4 July 2013)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Contact: Hassan Mufti, Shaheed Bhutto Foundation (SBF)
TRIBALS PRESENT FATA DECLARATION TO PRESIDENT ZARDARI
Islamabad: Following the unanimous approval of the FATA Declaration, more than 250
tribals traveled to the heart of Pakistan to demand peace and fundamental rights for FATA
and to present their Citizens’ Declaration for Reforms to the President of Pakistan, Mr. Asif
Ali Zardari and the entire nation of Pakistan.
Receiving the tribals from FATA at the Aiwan-e-Sadr on Wednesday, the President stated
that, “the FATA Reforms process is aimed at empowering people of the region and it
should continue for the sake of better future of tribal people.” He further indicated that
peace is of utmost importance, but that the reform process in the tribal areas should be
implemented simultaneously and must not wait until after the restoration of peace in FATA.
“I expect that current and future governments will carry forward the FATA reforms
agenda,” indicated the President, after a tribal citizen read aloud the FATA Declaration in
the packed hall of the Presidency. He went on to say that, “the reforms implemented thus
far, are insufficient and further reforms in FATA are needed.”
As the reforms agenda seems to have lost urgency amidst other priorities, citizens from the
tribal areas gathered again for a media briefing on Thursday, so that their collective voices
could be heard at the highest political echelons. The consensus FATA Declaration
highlights urgent reforms priorities, including effective implementation of the 2011
reforms enacted by President Zardari. The FATA Declaration contains some 19
recommendations, encompassing social development as well as essential constitutional and
regulatory changes needed to ensure mainstreaming of FATA and political participation of
The FATA Declaration asserts that all tribesmen must be guaranteed the same fundamental
rights enjoyed by other citizens of Pakistan and guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan.
Other proposed changes include a constitutional amendment to provide legislative power
over the tribal areas to the National Assembly and Senate, as well as extension of the
jurisdiction of the High Court and Supreme Court of Pakistan and reserved seats for FATA
women in the parliament.
The tribal citizens also proposed that the powers of the Political Administration in FATA be
reduced, that executive and judicial powers be separated and that Political Agents be made
accountable to an elected local government.
Regulatory reforms recommendations made by the tribesmen also include abolishing or
substantially amending the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), creation of an elected FATA
Council, and grassroots promotion of education throughout the tribal areas. The FATA
Declaration also calls for the extension of PEMRA jurisdiction, thereby allowing open
access to the tribal areas for all private media organizations and independent journalists.
The FATA Declaration was unanimously adopted on the 22nd of June 2013 by more than
300 members of the FATA Reforms Councils representing tribals from all agencies and
frontier regions of FATA at a FATA Grand Assembly held in Peshawar. The FATA Reforms
Councils comprise of Malaks, Nawabs, elders, Ulemas, religious scholars, journalists,
businessmen, lawyers, teachers, shopkeepers, farmers, social workers, students, women,
members of various political parties, and other tribal citizens. Upon its approval, the FATA
Declaration was also presented to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor, Engineer Shaukatullah
Khan, who offered his endorsement of the people-driven reforms process for FATA.
The adoption of the FATA Declaration and its presentation to the Governor and President
of Pakistan, represent the culmination of a consensus-building process spanning five years
of local FATA Reforms Council meetings and advocacy workshops with tribal citizens on
challenges in the implementation of already enacted political reforms in FATA and on
recommendations for further reforms. The Shaheed Bhutto Foundation (SBF) launched its
campaign in 2008 to amplify the voices of FATA citizens and bring about political reforms
in the tribal areas.
The FATA Declaration now brings the demands of tribal people into the spotlight as they
push for change through reforms. Struggling for reforms and full political rights, FATA
citizens are working to usher in a new era of prosperity in an otherwise sidelined region of
As Pakistan enters a new era of democracy, it is pertinent that the benefits of such a change
accrue to the people of FATA. The recent elections are a testament of the will of the people
of FATA to establish a truly democratic system that will uphold their basic civil rights –
legal, political and social. Tribals are Pakistani! FATA is Pakistan!
FATA Declaration: http://goo.gl/4zxan
Urdu press release: http://goo.gl/4zxan
Shaheed Bhutto Foundation profile and history: http://goo.gl/4zxan
Photos of FATA Grand Assembly: http://goo.gl/4zxan
Photos of FATA Convention with President Zardari: http://goo.gl/4zxan
Additional media contact information:
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