FATA Reforms News Update (April-May 2014)


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The FATA Reforms news update below is a 16-page document containing a selection of opinion and news articles regarding recommendations for further reforms in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The summary document contains articles from April to May 2014.

The reforms priorities in the document include the establishing of a new FATA Reforms Commission by recently appointed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, the historic April 7, 2014 judgment of the Peshawar High Court regarding FATA jurisdiction and Article 247 of the constitution, and calls for greater transparency in the tribal areas and others.

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FATA Reforms News Update (April-May 2014)

  1. 1. 1 FATA Reforms News Summary April - May 2014 TABLE OF CONTENTS FATA Reforms News Summary ..........................................................................................................................1 KP governor forms commission on FATA reforms.............................................................................................1 Mehtab prepares plan for FATA reforms...........................................................................................................2 Pakistan governor calls for strategic overview for FATA reform.......................................................................3 Reforms in Kurram Agency to be test for governor ..........................................................................................3 KP governor promises mainstreaming of FATA.................................................................................................4 Major reshuffle in FATA Secretariat ..................................................................................................................5 High Court asks government to amend constitution for FATA..........................................................................5 Serious legal discourse on FATA rights in PHC...................................................................................................7 Article 247 of the Constitution of Pakistan........................................................................................................8 Pakistan constitution extends to FATA (Walid) .................................................................................................9 Probing financial irregularities in FATA an uphill task .......................................................................................9 Rid FATA of the FCR (Imtiaz Gul).....................................................................................................................10 Government not serious to resolve FATA political issues ...............................................................................11 New coalition formed to urge FATA equal rights ............................................................................................12 FAFEN analysis of 2013 elections in FATA .......................................................................................................13 FATA committee seeks parliamentarians help for reforms.............................................................................15 FATA demands local government elections ....................................................................................................15 KP governor forms commission on FATA reforms “Introducing accountability process in financial management’ e-governance, grievances addressal system, one window facilitation centre for various services with help of NADRA border management system in consultation with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, review current legal and institutional system in FATA and to propose improvement in existing laws and develop legal reforms for implementation of approved initiatives, review the effectiveness of FCR in changing circumstances are also included in terms and conditions of the commission”, the notification published by APP stated on Monday. PESHAWAR: As if the recommendations of previous task forces and reforms commissions were not enough, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan has set up another Fata Reforms Commission (FRC) to frame strategic objectives for the volatile tribal areas for the next 25 years. The five-member commission comprising retired civil and military officers, a former provincial minister and a serving civil officer has been asked to produce a comprehensive report within 10 months. The successive governors had formed several commissions and task forces for the purpose but administrative and legal reforms are missing in Fata. Former chief secretary Ejaz Qureshi has been appointed chairman of the FRC, whose other members are Lt-Gen (r) Syed Sabahat Hussain, former bureaucrat Mir Laiq Shah, former provincial minister Mossarat Qadeem, who runs an NGO, and additional secretary to the governor Muddassir Riaz Malik.
  2. 2. 2 KP governor tasks panel with producing report within 10 months The commission may corporate another member with the approval of the governor, said a notification. The body will submit short and long term reforms initiatives to the governor for his approval. Mandate of the FRC is to formulate and propose strategic objectives, strategic policies and action plans which will be submitted to the governor for approval. The FRC will overview the implementation of the reform initiatives and propose “mid-course corrections” as and when required. The commission has been given 18 terms of reference (ToRs) and will develop strategic and detailed action plans for realizing strategic objectives of reforms agenda in different sectors including economic in Fata. The FRC has been tasked to revisit and define the state/citizen relations, identify key reforms areas and options for institutional development and strengthening, and good governance in the area. It has been tasked to review structure of the existing Fata Civil Secretariat, Governor’s House, Governor’s Secretariat and political administration in tribal areas with a view to strengthen the system for making it more effective, efficient and responsive to the needs of people and propose options. Under the ToRs, the FRC will make recommendations for introducing accountability process in the financial management, introduction of governance and introduction of grievances redressal system based on study of best practices in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other areas. With the technical assistance of the National Database Registration Authority, the panel will suggest one-window facilitation centre for various services. It will also plan introduction of MIS system for good including trade and immigration governance whereas possible. It will also review border management regime including trade and immigration in consultation with Prime Minister Secretariat. It will re-examine the existing legal an institutional systems in Fata and will propose improvement/ amendments in the existing laws, rules, business process and develop legal regime for the implementation of the approved reforms initiatives. The commission will also review effectiveness of the Colonial-era Frontier Crimes Regulation in changing governance paradigm and will prepare integrated development and economic development strategies for the region. Also, pro-investment policy in various sectors like oil and gas, power, dams, minerals etc aiming at improving quality of life of tribal people will be made. By Zulfiqar Ali Source: http://www.dawn.com/news/1107498/another- commission-formed-on-fata-reforms APP article: http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=242028 Mehtab prepares plan for FATA reforms The new KP governor said he was preparing a plan for reforms in FATA and would take stakeholders into confidence soon on the matter. PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan has stopped construction work on a portion of the more than 100-year old Governor’s House as it would have damaged the historic building. Talking to a select group of journalists at the sprawling Governor’s House, he said conservationists were being assigned the task to give advice on preserving the old structure of the building. “It is our heritage and it needs to be protected,” he remarked. Sardar Mehtab, who was recently appointed the Governor, said he wanted to properly catalogue the artifacts, paintings, antiques and other old and precious things at the Governor’s House and keep these in safe custody to prevent theft and damage. He regretted that many costly artifacts and paintings from the Governor’s House were untraceable. Sardar Mehtab, who has had the distinction of earlier serving as chief minister of the province, expressed his determination to undertake reforms aimed at benefiting the people of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). He said he was drawing up a plan for this purpose and it would be shared with tribal elders, Fata parliamentarians and members of the intelligentsia to seek their feedback and inputs before implementation. He said instructions have been issued to expeditiously complete all development projects in Fata on which 75 percent of the work had already been done. He said projects that weren’t formally approved or on which work hasn’t started yet would be scrapped. He added that the development
  3. 3. 3 programme had been reviewed with a view to cut costs and end pilferage and commissions. One of the projects that were redesigned was the Fata House in Islamabad. Its cost was drastically cut by the Governor, who ordered that there was no need for having governor’s and Fata parliamentarians’ suites and jirga hall in the Fata House. The Governor recently undertook his first visit to Fata after assuming office by making a trip to Kurram Agency. He travelled to Kurram Agency’s headquarters Parachinar and second town, Sadda. He felt Kurram Agency, which has the highest literacy figures in Fata, could be made a model for the other tribal areas. Source: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7- 247980-Mehtab-takes-steps-to-preserve-Governor Pakistan governor calls for strategic overview for FATA reform PESHAWAR: Vying to improve living conditions in the conflict-hit tribal areas, Governor Sardar Mehtab Khan Abbasi has ordered that a Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) Reforms Commission (FRC) be established to set a 25-year strategic programme for the region. According to a statement issued from the governor’s office, the six-member commission, including some former bureaucrats, will submit reform initiatives to the governor which, once approved, will result in the committee’s transformation into the FATA Performance Management Unit. The task of the unit will be to supervise and monitor the work of agencies carrying out the reform initiatives. FRC will play the role of an apex body that will be exclusively responsible to frame the short, medium and long-term reforms in order to achieve the objectives, the statement read. The terms of references of the reforms commission include a review of the Frontier Crimes Regulation as well as changing the governance paradigm where FRC will prepare integrated as well as economic development strategies for the tribal areas. The notification stated that FRC will focus on the needs of the community and review pro-investment policies in various sectors, including oil, gas, power, dams and minerals, to improve tribesmen’s quality of lives. The commission has also been directed to introduce e-governance as well as a robust accountability process in the financial management of the tribal areas. A one-window facilitation centre for various services will be made with the assistance of the National Database and Registration Authority in the tribal areas. The governor’s plan includes the introduction of a set- up based on the Management Information System to reform trade and immigration system. The plan also includes reviewing border management in consultation with the Prime Minister’s Secretariat. Last week, the governor sought ideas from civil society on how to bring revolutionary changes to the affairs of the tribal areas. Abbasi was quoted as saying that he plans to bring widespread changes in Fata by introducing a policy on sensitising all stakeholders, specifically the centre, on the on-ground situation in the tribal region. Abbasi hails from Abbottabad and is also a former chief minister of the province. Source: http://tribune.com.pk/story/710512/reforming-tribal- areas-governor-calls-for-strategic-overview-of-fata/ Reforms in Kurram Agency to be test for governor Governor Mehtab Abbasi plans to strengthen traditional mechanism of governance in the tribal society and then introduce new reforms. PESHAWAR: Tribal people may not be familiar with the genius of Albert Einstein, but his saying “Peace can’t be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding,” has found receptive ears in Kurram Agency where thirst for peace and social development has been felt more than ever. Its inhabitants have started realising their problems rather than indulging in sectarianism and other none issues. Local people seek sustainable peace, quality education for their children, health facilities, good governance and accountability of officials of line departments who have allegedly plundered national wealth in the name of development. Even in these challenging times, sanity prevails. As sun rays strike the snowy peaks of Spin Ghar (white mountain) in the morning, flocks of boys and girls start rushing towards schools and colleges. Combined education has been introduced in some schools at primary level. Females are getting almost equal opportunities of education and employment in a tribal society. Female doctors are running their
  4. 4. 4 clinics and teachers and lady health workers can move without fear. Kurram is free of polio and refusal ratio is less than two per cent. The agency has the highest literacy rate in the entire Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). Administratively Kurram is different from the rest of tribal agencies. It is the only administrative unit in Fata which has well-documented land revenue record designed by the British Government in early 1930s. Besides, it has “Riwaj-i-Kurram or Turizona” – a traditional law in written form – which provides mechanism for resolving disputes among families and tribes. It is true that the writ of the government has eroded to some extent due to militancy and four-year long lawlessness. Political administration and Malik or elders; the two main pillars of the system, are still intact and it can be resurrected to the previous position. Economic indicators are comparatively satisfactory because the area is fertile and a large number of tribesmen work abroad. Realising this potential, Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan started his maiden tour to Fata from Kurram Agency. He announced at a joint tribal jirga held in Parachinar on Tuesday last that Kurram Agency would be made “model agency” in Fata. About two years ago, Kurram Agency was different. It looked like a “ghost valley” and virtually turned into a no-go area. Shia could not pass through Sunni majority areas and vice versa. Sectarianism is not as formidable a factor as it is accentuated by local administration and officers of the line departments for their own convenience, which unfortunately also divided paramilitary forces, Levies forces and officials of the local administration. This has had an impact. Non-local teachers posted in colleges and schools in the agency don’t join their duties on the pretext of security situation. But the ground reality is that officials from outside have never come under attack especially in upper sub-division. At a vaccination camp in Sadda, tehsil headquarters of lower sub-division this week, the governor was informed that unlike other tribal agencies Kurram had presently two agency surgeons looking after health services in their respective territories. “Why two surgeons instead of one,” he asked Political Agent Riaz Mehsud. The officer explained that after sectarian violence Shia officer had been deputed in the Shia dominated areas and for Sunni majority areas there is a Sunni surgeon. “Administration is administration. It should be neither Shia nor Sunni,” he told the local administration and joint tribal jirga. itting in the sprawling Governor House in Peshawar, Sardar Mahtab looks ambitious to put the eroded administrative system back on track in Fata. He selected Kurram Valley for this Herculean task. In his address to the joint jirga, he announced computerisation of land revenue record of Kurram to resolve disputes among different tribes over the ownership of land, forests and irrigation water, which are ultimately turned into sectarian violence by the vested interests. The second initiative he announced was third party evaluation of a multi-million development project in farming sector in Kurram. He directed engagement of students of Agriculture University, Peshawar, in evaluation of the project. Involvement of external project evaluators in tribal area where billions of funds are spent every year in social and economic sectors is also an uphill task for the governor. “A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step, but unfortunately we have yet to take the first step,” he told Dawn. He has also planned to strengthen traditional mechanism of governance in the tribal society and after that new reforms would be introduced. But he is facing a daunting task of how to deal with the shrewd maliks and tricky bureaucrats, who have always opposed reforms in the system. Reforms and governance in Kurram will be a test case for him. By Zulfiqar Ali Source: http://www.dawn.com/news/1103643/reforms-in- kurram-agency-to-be-a-test-case-for-governor KP governor promises mainstreaming of FATA PESHAWAR: Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan has said every step would be taken to bring the people of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) into mainstream to redress their grievances. The governor expressed these views while chairing a high level meeting to review the performance of Fata Secretariat and Fata Development Authority here at Governor’s House on Monday, said a handout. A detailed briefing was also given to the governor by the officials of Fata Secretariat and FDA. Besides others, Chief Secretary Amjad Ali Khan, Ex-Chief
  5. 5. 5 Secretary of KP Ejaz Ahmed Qureshi, Additional Chief Secretary Fata Arbab Muhammad Arif, Principal Secretary to Governor, Dr Muhammad Fakhr-e-Alam, Secretary Law & Order Fata, Dr Jamal Nasir, Secretary Social Sector Fata, Sardar Muhammad Abbas, Chief Executive FDA and Dr Fida Muhammad Wazir also attended the meeting. The performance of the Fata Secretariat and FDA was also reviewed. The governor directed the authorities to take austerity measures to make sure the transparency and completion of ongoing development schemes within the stipulated time for the welfare of the tribal people. He assured that every possible step would be taken to provide the speedy justice to the tribal people. He directed the officials of Fata Secretariat that major development schemes should be included in next ADP. The governor announced that the quota of the scholarships of technical education for the male and female students from Fata has been increased from 1,700 to 10,000 in the best technical institutions across Pakistan to provide maximum employment opportunities to the tribal people. Source: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2- 245752-KP-governor-promises-mainstreaming-of-Fata Major reshuffle in FATA Secretariat PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan has undertaken a major reshuffle in Fata civil secretariat as a part of his reform agenda in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (Fata). A notification issued here on Friday said that four officers of grade-20, serving in the Fata civil secretariat, had been asked to report to the provincial establishment department. It said that several administrative posts had been abolished in the secretariat as more structural reforms were in pipeline. The four officers include secretary social sector department Sardar Mohammad Abbas, secretary law and order Dr Jamal Nasir, secretary administration, infrastructure and coordination Syed Amiruddin Shah and secretary production and livelihood Farrukh Sair. Mohammad Abid Majeed, officer in grade-19 who was under transfer as director general provincial services academy, Peshawar, has been posted as secretary administration, infrastructure and coordination, Fata, in his own pay and scale. Additional secretary administration, infrastructure and coordination Sharifullah, an officer of grade-19, was directed to report to establishment department and the post has been filled by Mohammad Zubair who was awaiting posting. In addition, the notification said that principal secretary Dr Fakhre Alam (BS-20) has been authorised to hold the additional charge of secretary law and order, Fata. Similarly, Abid Majeed will also hold additional charge of the post of secretary social sectors department as well as secretary production and livelihood department. Source: http://dawn.com/news/1103908/major- reshuffle-in-fata-secretariat High Court asks government to amend constitution for FATA “We are, therefore, of the view that all employees of FATA Secretariat, its line departments and subordinate offices are civil servants, whether on deputation from the provincial government or appointed by the federal government either on a temporary or permanent basis and the bar contained in Article 247 would not apply to those government servants merely by their posting in the tribal areas.” (Peshawar High Court, Judgment of 7 April 2014) PESHAWAR: In a detailed judgment on the high court’s jurisdiction in the tribal areas, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) has observed that denial of fundamental rights of tribesmen, which are available to other citizens, has caused the tribal areas to become the most dangerous region. A five-member bench headed by former chief justice Mian Fasihul Mulk, Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Malik Manzoor Hussain on April 7 had announced the short order, advising Parliament to make amendments in Article 247 (7) of the Constitution. The Article reads that neither the Supreme Court nor a high court shall exercise any jurisdiction under the Constitution in relation to a tribal area, unless Majlis- e-Shoora (Parliament) by law otherwise provides. On March 11, the bench put forward seven basic questions before a panel of senior lawyers, asking them to assist the court to decide if it was in its jurisdiction to hear cases from the Federally
  6. 6. 6 Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). The points included the court’s authority in hearing cases of employees of the federal and provincial governments working in the tribal areas as well as cases of DMG and service commission officials and employees exclusively recruited for tribal areas. Moreover, the bench had questioned whether the high court can entertain cases regarding illegal detention of tribal residents, appeals against decisions of the FATA Tribunal, including both civil and criminal cases, and how to proceed if the cause of an action is in the settled areas but the incident occurs in tribal areas. The court states in its order that there is no regulatory mechanism to check the misuse of power by political agents which often results in serious human rights violations. The political agent makes a decision regarding conviction or acquittal and is not bound by recommendation of relevant tribal jirgas. The political agent’s order cannot be challenged before the high court. The 46-page order states further that we are, therefore, of the view that all employees of FATA Secretariat, its line department and subordinate offices are civil servants, whether on deputation from the provincial government or appointed by the federal government either on a temporary or permanent basis, and the bar contained in Article 247 would not apply to those government servants merely by their posting in the tribal areas. It further states that if a person is illegally removed from a settled area to the tribal territory by political authorities, the court can entertain the matter, if the procedure laid down in Section 86-A of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1898, has not been fulfilled. The order explain further that if the cause of action has occurred in the settled area but the proceedings have been carried out by the political authority within Fata, then this court has the jurisdiction to entertain the matter. Moreover, if a person belonging to the settled areas is arrested within the territorial limits of this court and then moved to the tribal areas without fulfillment of the necessary legal requirements, this court may exercise constitutional jurisdiction in the matter, the court explained. Similarly, on contractual obligations between government functionaries and private persons in the tribal areas, cases could be entertained by ordinary courts of the province, PHC stated. PHC was hearing around 60 petitions in which petitioners want the Frontier Crimes Regulation abolished, extension of jurisdiction of high court to tribal areas, restraining members of the FATA Tribunal and to abolish other laws which are against fundamental rights. The News adds: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Monday advised the federal government to submit a reference in the Parliament for suitable amendments to the Constitution with an aim to protect fundamental human rights in the tribal region. The advice was given by a larger bench in a detailed judgment over matters related to illegal detentions and issues of government servants. The PHC on Monday issued a 46-page judgment related to Fata, in which a larger bench comprising the then PHC chief justice Mian Fasihul Mulk, present Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Qaiser Rasheed and Justice Malik Manzoor Hussain declared that the high court had jurisdiction to hear cases of the employees of provincial and federal governments serving in Fata. The court declared sub-article 7 of Article 247 of the Constitution inconsistent with articles related to fundamental rights and advised the federal government to submit a reference in the parliament for suitable amendments to the said article. About arrest of people from settled areas by the political administration, the bench declared that the high court could assume its jurisdiction in illegal arrest by the political administration. The bench stated that the arrest would be illegal if political administration did not fulfil procedure under section 86-A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), before shifting the arrested persons to tribal areas from the settled areas. The bench declared that the high court had jurisdiction to hear the cases if the incident or any other agreements on business and other matters took place in settled areas between private parties and action was taken by the political authorities. The bench said the court would decide its jurisdiction in the service maters of those employees who were directly appointed by the political authorities when such cases come to the court for hearing. However, the bench declared that the high court had no jurisdiction to hear cases related to various matters occurring in Fata and illegal arrests of tribal people there.The judgment said the political agents’ basic duty was to run the administrative affairs of various tribal agencies, but at the same time they also act as judge and sentenced the tribal people under the FCR.
  7. 7. 7 The bench declared that there was no system to control the unlimited powers of the political agents and that was why they were committing serious violations of fundamental human rights and giving decisions on their own free will and under sub-Article 7 of Article 247 of Constitution their divisions are not challenged in the high court. Therefore, the court declared sub-article 7 of Article 247 of the Constitution inconsistent with articles related to fundamental rights and advised the federal government to submit a reference in the parliament for suitable amendments to the said article. The PHC explained that it was advising the federal government to submit a reference in the National Assembly and Senate for suitable amendments in sub- article 7 of Article 247 of the Constitution. People of Fata are citizens of Pakistan, but imposing restriction through this article of the Constitution against tribal people to get fundamental rights is discrimination against them. Senior lawyers, including Barrister Zahoorul Haq, Imtiaz Ali, Qazi Muhammad Anwar, Tariq Afridi, Wali Khan Afridi, Abdul Lateef Afridi, Advocate General Abdul Lateef Yousafzai and Additional Advocate General Waqar Ahmad Khan assisted the court as amicus curiae in the case. Source 1: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News- 7-248359-PHC-asks-Centre-to-file-reference-with- Source 2: http://tribune.com.pk/story/704500/venturing-into- tribal-areas-detailed-judgment-outlines-phc- jurisdiction-in-fata/ Complete PHC judgment: http://www.slideshare.net/fatanews/peshawar-high- court-judgement-on-fata-jurisdiction-april-2014 Serious legal discourse on FATA rights in PHC An additional note on the PHC judgment by Justice Yahya Afridi reconfirms FATA citizens’ rights to all fundamental rights under Pakistan Constitution. A full bench of the Peshawar High Court on April 7 delivered an important judgment related to issues concerning the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). A few days ago the court released its detailed judgment wherein the bench had given its findings on those issues, which were raised in around 60 writ petitions. The five-member bench comprised then PHC chief justice Mian Fasihul Mulk (now retired), the present Chief Justice, Mazhar Alam Miankhel (then senior puisne judge), Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Qaiser Rasheed and Justice Manzoor Hussain. The bench had formulated several points related to Fata and requested senior lawyers to appear as amicus curiae and assist the court about its jurisdiction related to it. Those points included federal and provincial employees working in Fata on deputation; federal government employees posted in Fata; employees recruited for Fata; illegal detentions by officers in Fata; decisions of tribunals in civil and criminal cases; the cause of action accrued in the settled area but proceedings carried out by the political authorities; if the cause of action has arisen in Fata between persons belonging to the settled area; and contractual obligations arising in Fata between government functionaries and private persons. Arguments were made on those points especially regarding barring the superior courts from exercising any jurisdiction in Fata under Article 247 (7) of the Constitution. The bench gave its findings on the said points and most importantly it make an advice to the Parliament through Federation for making suitable amendments to Article 247 (7) of the Constitution so that people of Fata could invoke the jurisdiction of the high court or the Supreme Court in case of infringement of their fundamental rights, which are though available to them under the Constitution being citizens of Pakistan but cannot be available because of the bar contained in Article 247 (7). The judgment was authored by Chief Justice Mian Fasihul Mulk and endorsed by other bench members. However, Justice Afridi (now senior puisne judge) has written an additional 27-page note. While the detailed judgment was covered in media the note has mostly been ignored. Justice Afridi endorsed the judgment except specific advice to the Parliament by the bench. “Steps are to be taken by the executive and the Parliament to ensure the matter [of ensuring FATA rights] is remedied.” (Justice Yahya Afridi) Justice Yahya Afridi observed that he shared the views recorded by the chief justice that all citizens, hailing from Fata being Pakistanis, have and are entitled to all the fundamental rights, as enshrined in the Constitution and that in the present legal disposition, despite the clear mandate and command of the Constitution, the same cannot be executed or enforced by them. “In conclusion, I am of the view that as far as the enunciation of this Court that the people of Fata lack the legal and judicial forum to ensure their fundamental rights to be enforced and executed in a meaningful manner, as is the command and spirit of the Constitution, is where the role of judiciary ought
  8. 8. 8 to end and what steps are to be taken by the executive and the Parliament to ensure that matter is remedied are matter of ‘policy’ and thus should be left to the wisdom and decision of the other two organs.” “Any ‘advice’ with specific steps entailed therein renders the same to lose its significance and transforms into a ‘direction’ which if made to the parliament through the executive would be contrary to the spirit of our Constitution,” Justice Afridi added. “The people of Fata have a peculiar historic, social and customary characteristic, which has been recognised in all administrative, constitutional and other legal instruments relating to the said area and thus warranting caution and restraint of this Court,” he observed. Furthermore, he added that the principles of trichotomy of power, enshrined in the Constitution, mandates that each organ of the state be allowed to function independently, without interference by the other two organs. In the additional note, Justice Afridi has explained the legal system in Fata in its historical perspective. He observed that the President and parliament had various legal and constitutional options available to ensure that the fundamental rights of the people of Fata were made meaningful by being enforceable by a competent legal judicial forum. Justice Afridi has discussed four options available to the President and parliament. He observed that appropriate amendments be introduced to Article 247 (7) of the Constitution, as has been recommended by his brother judges. He suggested that the President may, while exercising his authority provided under the Constitution, order to cease whole or part of Fata to be tribal area, with such incidental and consequential provisions as appear to the President to be necessary and proper. “Surely, this option would require the approval of the tribal jirga. It may be noted that in case this option is successfully carried out, the whole or part of tribal area would either have to merge in another province or lead to the creation of a separate province.” Another option mentioned in the note is that parliament may extend the jurisdiction of any high court to matters related to Fata under Article 192 (5) of the Constitution. Presently, the Fata Tribunal, the last judicial forum available under the Frontier Crimes Regulation is headed by a retired bureaucrat. Justice Afridi observed that amendments could be made to Section 55A of the FCR in accordance with recommendations of an earlier FATA Reforms Commission to the effect that the tribunal should be headed by a judge of the high court. Legal experts believe that the findings and observations of the bench, including the additional note, were of important nature and the executive as well as parliament should pay heed to it. By Waseem Ahmad Shah Source: http://www.dawn.com/news/1107275/view- from-courtroom-serious-legal-discourse-on-fata- issues-rights-in-phc Article 247 of the Constitution of Pakistan To understand the legal system governing the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), one must understand Article 247 of the Constitution of Pakistan. Articles 246 and 247 make up Chapter 3 of Part XII of the constitution. Part XII is entitled “Miscellaneous” and Chapter 3 is entitled “Tribal Areas”. While Article 246 focuses on defining what parts of Pakistan are defined as tribal areas, Article 247 goes into detail regarding the exceptions or restrictions on the application of the constitution to the tribal areas. Part XII: Miscellaneous Chapter 3: Tribal Areas Article 247. Administration of Tribal Areas. - (1) Subject to the Constitution, the executive authority of the Federation shall extend to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and the executive authority of a Province shall extend to the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas therein. (2) The President may, from time to time, give such directions to the Governor of a Province relating to the whole or any part of a Tribal Area within the Province as he may deem necessary, and the Governor shall, in the exercise of his functions under this Article, comply with such directions. (3) No Act of [Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)] shall apply to any Federally Administered Tribal Area or to any part thereof, unless the President so directs, and no Act of [Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)] or a Provincial Assembly shall apply to a Provincially Administered Tribal Area, or to any part thereof, unless the Governor of the Province in which the Tribal Area is situated, with the approval of the President, so directs; and in giving such a direction with respect to any law, the President or, as the case may be, the Governor, may direct that the law shall, in
  9. 9. 9 its application to a Tribal Area, or to a specified part thereof, have effect subject to such exceptions and modifications as may be specified in the direction. (4) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution, the President may, with respect to any matter within the legislative competence of [Majlis-e- Shoora (Parliament)] , and the Governor of a Province, with the prior approval of the President, may, with respect to any matter within the legislative competence of the Provincial Assembly make regulations for the peace and good government of a Provincially Administered Tribal Area or any part thereof, situated in the Province. (5) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution, the President may, with respect to any matter, make regulations for the peace and good Government of a Federally Administered Tribal Area or any part thereof. (6) The President may, at any time, by Order, direct that the whole or any part of a Tribal Area shall cease to be Tribal Area, and such Order may contain such incidental and consequential provisions as appear to the President to be necessary and proper: Provided that before making any Order under this clause, the President shall ascertain, in such manner as he considers appropriate, the views of the people of the Tribal Area concerned, as represented in tribal jirga. (7) Neither the Supreme Court nor a High Court shall exercise any jurisdiction under the Constitution in relation to a Tribal Area, unless [Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)] by law otherwise provides: Provided that nothing in this clause shall affect the jurisdiction which the Supreme Court or a High Court exercised in relation to a Tribal Area immediately before the commencing day. Pakistan constitution extends to FATA (Walid) Despite what some people say, the Constitution of Pakistan does legally extend to the tribal areas, including FATA. Just as I read in the newspaper this morning, you may have heard activists, reformers, political leaders, journalists and others say that “the constitution does not extend to FATA”. This is a dangerous confusion and is in fact not a true statement. Although Article 247 of the constitution does restrict certain fundamental rights and political rights of FATA people, all of the rest of the constitution does extend to FATA. Don’t believe me? Just look at Article 1 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, where it clearly includes FATA as part of Pakistan: Article 1. The Republic and its territories. – (1) Pakistan shall be a Federal Republic to be known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, hereinafter referred to as Pakistan. (2) The territories of Pakistan shall comprise: – (a) the Provinces of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh; (b) the Islamabad Capital Territory, hereinafter referred to as the Federal Capital; (c) the Federally Administered Tribal Areas; and (d) such States and territories as are or may be included in Pakistan, whether by accession or otherwise. (3) Parliament may by law admit into the Federation new States or areas on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit. While it may be important to point out the problems with Article 247 and how it denies equal rights to FATA people, it is also important to make it understood by all that:  FATA is a part of Pakistan,  The constitution extends and applies to FATA just like the rest of the country, and  FATA people are legally equal citizens of Pakistan like all others and therefore deserve the same rights and protections. In other words, although the laws passed by the National Assembly do not apply to FATA unless explicitly signed and extended by the President of Pakistan (one of the restrictions in Article 247), all articles in the constitution do apply to FATA. Don’t be confused by people who tell you otherwise. Help spread the word that the Constitution of Pakistan belongs to FATA too. Probing financial irregularities in FATA an uphill task Fifty-seven departmental inquiries into alleged financial irregularities and embezzlement of funds are underway in 18 departments and directorates, functioning under Civil Secretariat of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). Despite conducting this gigantic exercise senior government functionaries are not sure if these investigations would reach the logical end, because there is no mechanism for probing ‘white collar crimes’ in the tribal areas where federal government,
  10. 10. 10 foreign donors and other money lending agencies spend billions of funds in various sectors every year. The official said that the issue at hand is that neither National Accountability Bureau (NAB) nor Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) or any other agency can intervene to investigate these types of crimes in Fata because of legal vacuum. He said that federal government had extended FIA Act to Fata, but legal mechanism and infrastructure required for probing financial scams did not exist in the tribal areas. Certain sections in FIA Act did not synchronise with the existing legal system in Fata therefore the agency was helpless to conduct investigations or probe crimes, he added. Similarly, the official said, NAB could not operate unless President extended it to Fata under Article 247 (5) of the Constitution although NAB Ordinance had been extended to the whole country. He said, adding the perception had emboldened the officials to earn as much as possible that officials serving in civil secretariat or its subsidiary directorates in Fata have realised that they are not answerable to any authority for looting and plundering national wealth. Well-placed sources said that a case involving millions of amount had been unearthed in Frontier Region of Tank few months ago. The Fata communication and works department had shown to have spent the allocated funds, but the schemes had not been executed, they said. Important aspect is that every official in civil secretariat and line departments in private conversation admits that massive corruption in development projects and other sectors exist, but nobody is ready to disclose the name of people involved corruption or take action against them. A retired civil servant, commenting on the prevailing situation, termed the secretariat a ‘shopping hub for officials’. An official source said that inquiries against the officials were blocked by their peers and the cases were swept under the carpet. Information gathered by Dawn revealed that total 57 inquiries were presently underway in different departments and directorates. These inquiries were ordered about one year ago. Four officials have been repatriated to the provincial government after corruption charges were proved against them. Sources said that before the 57 inquiries no such action was ever taken against the officials in the past. Investigations in two inquiries ordered in communication and works departments have been completed. These inquiries were referred to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in which recovery worth Rs4.7 million from two executive engineers was ordered while increment of another officer was censured. The employees of the provincial government are working on deputation in Civil Secretariat Fata and its line departments therefore some cases had been referred to the provincial government. Officials said that six regular inquiries were in the process under efficiency and disciplinary rule while five cases were referred to the provincial government for investigation. Civil secretariat has launched fact finding inquiries into 44 cases involving financial irregularities. Administration department has started 22 inquiries. According to sources, 16 inquiries are under process in communication and works, 10 in health, five in fishery, four in agriculture, four in livestock, three in local government, one in finance, two in law and order, two in sports, one in administration, two in education, one in irrigation, one in non-timber forest, one in public health engineering, one in Fata support programme, one in planning and development, one in social welfare and one in population welfare department. By Zulfiqar Ali Source: http://www.dawn.com/news/1104500 Rid FATA of the FCR (Imtiaz Gul) The regulation empowers the political agent to do whatever he wants even on the slightest suspicion that an individual has or is about to commit a crime. He has absolute authority. The 1901 Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) governing the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) remains an aberration in the age of cyberspace. It is a set of laws that was essentially a replication of the British- era magistracy system, but with a Political Agent (PA) at the centre who these laws turn him into the uncrowned king of the agency under his control. The PA’s control extends into the agency through the privileged class of Maliks — about 35,000 of them officially hold the title of Malik and serve as the bridge between the PA and the tribes. Residents of Fata got the right of adult franchise in 1997 and the Political Parties Act was extended to it before the 2013 general
  11. 11. 11 elections to allow political parties to participate from there. But this hardly changes the reality — that extremely wealthy people in Fata buy votes for the National Assembly or the Senate. It also remains a fact that while being part of the parliament, these MNAs cannot influence governance or legislation in their respective areas. Also, what is more ironic is that by the virtue of the FCR, these MNAs are virtually subject to the will of their respective political agents, who can place them under house arrest, banish them, or even have their properties demolished or seized. Why? Because the FCR empowers the PA to do so even if he has the slightest suspicion that a particular individual has or is about to commit a crime. This is one of the 50 or so regulations that arm the PA with absolute authority. The penalties that the PA imposes on tribes or individuals or the funds he gets from the federal government for his respective area are also essentially never audited. And that is why every new recruit to the civil service vies for the PA position, particularly in the Khyber Agency. The dominant majority of Fata residents demand that the FCR be abolished and the tribal area be brought under the Constitution. They question then, the value of Fata MNAs and what work they do — apart from supposedly making tons of money during their tenure. Those intending to become senators first spend huge sums of money on MNAs to buy their votes and then find ways to recover it. Resonating popular demands, 10 major parties have therefore, joined hands to strive for ridding Fata of the FCR and put forward eleven demands. Some of these recommendations are as follows:  Article 247 of the Constitution should be amended to guarantee fundamental rights for all tribal citizens and shift legislative power from the President of Pakistan to the parliament  Local bodies elections should be held in Fata  A comprehensive package should be developed for Fata and infrastructure development be initiated with special focus on health, education and employment  The future status of Fata should be decided by its people  The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (Pemra) jurisdiction should be extended and media should be provided greater access to the region  Actions in Aid of Civil Power Regulation 2011 should be abolished Recommendations in favour of the traditional jirga, or separation of the executive and judicial powers, or the strengthening of civil armed forces (khasadar and levies) resonate the romance with tradition. In the local context, it probably has value too, but one should also bear in mind that the British designed the FCR for controlling citizens and criminals. There were no signs of militancy then. Fata, today, finds itself in the clutches of a reckless militancy that has severely blunted the FCR-guided ruling structures in the sense that these laws could not prevent religious groups from proliferation. The military’s response to the militancy has virtually sandwiched Fata residents between the militants and the military, causing massive disruption in life and displacement of huge populations. It’s about time the ruling civilian and military elite rid Fata of the FCR. Imtiaz Gul FATA reforms FCR abolish tribal areas PakistanBy Imtiaz Gul, Executive Director of the independent Centre for Research and Security Studies Source: http://tribune.com.pk/story/704945/rid-fata- of-the-fcr/ Government not serious to resolve FATA political issues ISLAMABAD: In a recent move, the outlawed Taliban in Khyber Agency and Tirah valley made it mandatory for the residents to admit their children to religious seminaries. And those desirous of giving formal education to their children are forced to pay Rs400,000 per child to the Taliban. This was stated by Mohammad Ijaz Mohmand, the president of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) Lawyers Forum, at a conference, ‘Pakistan in post-2014 geo-political regional scenario: exploiting trade and business potentials for peace building in Fata’. The conference was organised by the Fata Research Centre here on Tuesday. Mr Ijaz said problems for the people of Fata were continuously increasing but the government was not willing to take the issue seriously. “People of Fata have been struggling to get democratic and fundamental rights for over 60 years but successive governments always talked about the infrastructure and economic activities and never introduced local government system in the area,” he said.
  12. 12. 12 Taliban in Khyber Agency have banned formal education and are forcing people to admit their children to seminaries Talking to Dawn, Mr Mohmand said Taliban had banned formal education in the Khyber Agency and Tirah. “No one has the courage to speak against the Taliban. Even politicians are not ready to take up the issue in parliament. Those who want to give formal education to their children pay Rs400,000 to the Taliban after which they are allowed to send their children to schools in Peshawar,” he said. People of Fata have been demanding an amendment to Article 247 of the constitution. He said the Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court had also ordered the provision of constitutional rights to the people of Fata. For this, the government just has to bring an amendment bill in parliament but it is not ready to implement the court orders, he said. Under Article 247 of the constitution, no Act of parliament applies to Fata unless the president consents to it. Only the president is authorized to amend the laws and promulgate ordinances in the tribal areas, added Mr Mohmand. However, Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir said problems in Fata can be resolved by improving the economic conditions of the area. The minister said though there was an impression that Fata was the hotbed of extremism it can become a trade corridor for Central Asia. “Pakistan has been considering building dry ports at Torkham Border and other areas in Fata but for that durable peace is necessary,” he said. “If there is trade between Pakistan and the Central Asian countries, it will have a very positive impact on the development of Fata.” When asked why President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have not so far visited Fata, Mr Dastagir said they would visit the area soon. Federal Minister for Textile and Industries, Abbas Khan Afridi said people of Fata were good traders and once they got a chance to contribute to the economic activities, they would become beneficial for the country. Danish Ambassador Jesper M. Sorensen said before coming to Pakistan a year back he also believed that Fata was the hotbed of extremism. “But now I have learnt that not only Fata is one of the most beautiful areas of the world but also the people of the area are famous for their hospitality and social values. Denmark is the biggest donor for Afghanistan and it will continue supporting projects to provide education in Fata, especially for girls.” Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1107665/govt- not-serious-in-resolving-political-issues-in-fata New coalition formed to urge FATA equal rights The Coalition for FATA Rights (CFR) is a group of citizens and civil society organizations united for equal rights in Pakistan’s tribal areas. This new FATA Coalition is actively inviting new members of all those interested in supporting their mission and objectives. If you or your organization would like to apply to join the coalition, please click here. CFR Mission Statement The Coalition for FATA Rights was established on November 13, 2013 in Islamabad with a group of active civil society organizations working on FATA reforms and development issues with the goal to promote collaborative efforts to accelerate reforms in FATA for development and progress of the region. The Coalition will be open to further membership by organizations and individuals who share its missions and goals. CFR Objectives  Bring together all actors striving for FATA reforms and to emerge as a collaborative platform for advocacy, awareness and action  Promote and encourage political, legal, economic, social and information/communications reforms in FATA  Collaborate on strategies and partnerships on bringing FATA and its residents into the mainstream of Pakistan with equal fundamental rights and privileges, as guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan  Focus on advocating and facilitating enabling processes, practices, mechanisms, tools and techniques to increase pressure for urgent reforms in FATA.  Collaboratively engage key stakeholders including local, provincial and federal governments and authorities; civil society; political parties and legislators; and media,
  13. 13. 13 among others, on accelerating reforms in FATA  Promote partnerships with and within civil society/development sector in articulating demand for reforms in FATA  Promote information sharing and its dissemination by civil society organizations and other actors working on reforms in FATA to strengthen demand and supply sides of reforms  Promote public dialogue and enhance public profile of FATA reforms in local, regional, national and international media to include local voices in the movement for empowerment of people in Tribal Areas  Strengthen capacities and generate resources for the Coalition CFR Charter of Action The Coalition for FATA Rights (CFR), on behalf of the residents of FATA who are guaranteed equal rights in the Constitution as in the rest of Pakistan but do not enjoy them in practice, strives for urgent reforms in the Tribal Areas that can provide its residents these rights in both promise and practice, and which can bring the Tribal Areas into the mainstream of Pakistan. CFR Membership Pledge Member organizations pledge to: 1) endorse and actively work to achieve CFR goals; 2) Share information on actions, developments, and issues; 3) Participate in Coalition actions, activities and contribute to consultations as required; 4) Abide by the CFR Code of Conduct during meetings and events; and 5) Cordially and respectfully exchange views and resolve conflicts. CFR Founding Members  Civic Action Resources (CAR)  FATA Lawyer’s Forum (FLF)  FATA Research Centre (FRC)  Institute for Research, Advocacy and Development (IRADA)  Shaheed Bhutto Foundation (SBF)  Sustainable Peace and Development Organization (SPADO)  Tribal NGOs Consortium (TNC) CFR Contact Information http://facebook.com/groups/coalitionfatarights/ http://twitter.com/FATAcoalition Membership form: http://goo.gl/UvNnCn FAFEN analysis of 2013 elections in FATA There are 12 National Assembly constituencies in FATA with 1,479,327 registered voters. At current population estimates above four million, this indicates much work is needed to register FATA men and especially women. The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) located on the western border of Pakistan sharing its boundaries with Afghanistan. FATA comprised of seven tribal agencies and six frontier regions is home to 4,296,194 estimated inhabitants that are 2.3 percent of national population and 2 percent of the registered voters. After the extension of adult franchises to the area by then PPP-led government in 1996, people of FATA for the first time cast their votes to their representatives on non-party basis. They waited till 2011 for the extension of Political Parties Order to the area when in May 2013 representatives of parties were allowed for the first time in history to contest elections on party basis in the tribal areas. While voter registration is lower than elsewhere in Pakistan, the number of votes polled in FATA is increasing. The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) is an autonomous organization observing elections countrywide in Pakistan. In January 2014, FAFEN launched its report which contains findings and analysis of the 2013 general elections. This article contains an excerpt of that report, focusing only on the constituencies in FATA (NA-36 to NA-47). Please find here some overall FATA election analysis and a link to the complete FATA section of the FAFEN report at the end of this article: TURNOUT TRENDS 1. Votes Polled: 2002 to 201 3 FAFEN-election-report-2013-FATA-rejected-votes- tribal-areas-Pakistan The number of rejected votes exceeded the margin of victory in three FATA constituencies: NA-37 Kurram, NA-39 Orakzai and NA-41 South Waziristan. Like most other regions, FATA also witnessed an overall increase in polled votes since 2002. Almost 330,000 votes were polled in FATA in general election
  14. 14. 14 2002 which increased to approximately 400,000 in 2008 and 500,000 in 2013. b. Average Turnout by Demographic Category Turnout in predominantly rural constituencies of FATA remained equal to the overall turnout of the region because all constituencies are categorized as predominantly rural. The turnout remained around 26 percent in 2002, increased to 28 percent in 2008 and further improved to 32 percent in 2013. c. Distribution of Constituencies by Turnout and Demographic Categories of the 10 constituencies for which the gazette result was published, four had less than 35 percent turnout while in the other four it was in the range of 35 to 45 percent. One constituency witnessed a turnout in the range of 45 to 55 percent while another in the range of 55 to 65 percent. d. Estimated Turnout by Types of Polling Stations According to FATA parallel vote tabulation (PVT) estimates in 2013, male polling stations recorded the highest turnout of 41.5 percent followed by combined polling stations with 35.8 percent. Female polling stations had significantly lower estimated turnout of around 28.2 percent. Overall turnout FAFEN estimated for the region was 36.1 percent compared to the ECP calculated 37.2 percent for the ten constituencies. The figures bring into focus the persistent issue of female under- participation as well as the need to tailor the polling scheme to help ensure better female turnout. Given that the gender desegregated data of the votes polled is not available for the combined polling stations, there is a need to record and examine the best course for improving female participation. e. Constituencies by Turnout Change and Demographic Categories: Average of 2002 and 2008 vs. 2013 Four constituencies of FATA witnessed 5.1 to 10% increase in their turnouts in 2013 vis-à-vis their average turnouts of 2002 and 2008–three witnessed a rise between 10.1 to 15% and one each saw an improvement of 15.1 to 20% and 0.1 to 5% in their turnouts. In contrast to the general regional and national trend, NA-42, witnessed a significant decrease of 10.1 to 15% in its turnout in 2013 vis-à-vis the 2002 and 2008 average turnout of 25%. A total of 6,211 votes were rejected in the region in 2002 which decreased to 4,528 votes in 2008. However, with a massive increase of more than 200% in 2013, rejected votes reached 13,694. Rejected votes accounted for almost 2% of the polled votes in 2002, 1% in 2008 and nearly 2.5% in 2013. The potential impact of rejected votes can be ascertained from the fact that of the ten constituencies of the region covered in this report, three had lower margin of victory compared to the number of rejected votes in the 2013 elections. POLITICAL PARTY TRENDS a. 2013 Results FAFEN-election-report-political-parties-results-FATA- constituencies-tribal-areas-Pakistan Political parties won four out of 10 constituencies decided. The political parties were not authorized to operate in FATA prior to the 2013 elections. This explains why independent candidates remained exclusive claimants of votes—a trend that has carried over into the 2013 elections. Not surprisingly then, the independent candidates won from six out of 10 NA seats of the region. PML-N secured victory from two seats while PTI and JUI won from one constituency each from within the remaining NA constituency. b. Winners’ Status Independent candidates emerged victorious in six NA constituencies for third consecutive time in 2013 while PML-N took two seats for the first time. JUI and PTI also won from one NA constituency each in the region for the first time. c. Party Votes Share Independent candidates emerged with 60% share of polled votes in 2013 followed by PTI and JUI as second and third largest parties claiming almost 10% and 9% votes. Besides, PML-N and JI also took 7% and 6.4% of the polled votes respectively. Report link: http://slideshare.net/fatanews/analysis- of-2013-fata-general-election-results-fafen-report- january-2014 Source: http://www.fafen.org
  15. 15. 15 FATA committee seeks parliamentarians help for reforms ISLAMABAD: The FATA reforms committee, comprising ten political parties, has urged the parliamentarians to help them push for the new reforms with the government, arguing that urgent reforms are needed for peace in the northwestern tribal areas and across Pakistan. The 10 political parties FATA Committee met with a group of senior Senators to discuss the need for FATA reforms here Wednesday. Speaking on the occasion, various Senators drew attention to the fact that legal system in FATA was unlike anywhere in the world. Many also expressed their strong desire for tribal people to receive the same rights as other Pakistanis. The lawmakers went on to say that FATA people are still wrongly treated as “subjects” of the country instead of citizens. “Only in FATA the authorities are allowed to destroy houses as punishment for an alleged crime,” said Senator Mushahid Hussain. FATA committee member, MNA Ayesha Gulalai of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) welcomed the interest of the senators saying, “the separation of powers in FATA is of utmost importance and any new local government system must truly empower the people and not just the political agents.” Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) FATA Committee member, Arsallah Khan Hoti emphasized, “This year is very important for Afghanistan and also for FATA and Pakistan. 2014 is the year that our 11- point reforms must be implemented by government.” He went on to ask the parliamentarians to do the hard work of advocating for the reforms with others in the National Assembly and Senate. Senator Afrasiab Khattak also pointed out the false statements that are often made about FATA, such as arguments that local government elections cannot be held due to the law and order situation. “If National Assembly elections can be held in FATA, then why not local elections?” he asked. Members of the FATA committee disagreed and call statements which suggest tribal people as disrespectful of the law not true and misleading. MNA Gulalai also pointed out importance of auditing the funds to FATA Secretariat and political agents, as according to him they currently have no oversight, transparency or accountability. As a result, many FATA citizens feel that they are the victims of corruption while not seeing the true benefit of the development funds being spent in FATA, he said. The ten political parties of the FATA Committee are on a nationwide tour to give voice to the new consolidated reforms demands for the Pakistani tribal areas. The parties are united on the reforms agenda after several All Parties Conferences with ANP, JI, JUI- F, MQM, NP, PML-N, PML, PPP, PTI and QWP. The FATA Committee has presented their reforms recommendations to SAFRON Minster Lt. General (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch and plans to meet the President of Pakistan, the Prime Minister, parliamentary committees and the new Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor soon to discuss their urgent 11-point reforms agenda. By Mateen Haider Source: http://dawn.com/news/1101784/fata- committee-seeks-parliamentarians-help-for-reforms FATA demands local government elections There are no two opinions that local government elections should be held in FATA and the driver of reforms must be the people themselves. Slamming the corrupt institution of the political agent, Minister said that even Jinnah had given assurance to the people of FATA that they would have a government of their choice. (SAFRON Minister Baloch) FATA Research Centre, FRC, FATA local government LG local bodies tribal areas Pakistan Farhatullah Babar SAFRON minister Qadir Baloch Ibrahim Shinwari ISLAMABAD: The clamour for holding local government elections in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is growing in a region where a governance system is non -existent at a local or provincial level. A new research study by the FATA Research Centre (FRC) titled ‘Local Government in FATA, Past failures, Current challenges and Future prospects’ highlights the century old political vacuum in the region coupled with bad governance and corruption which has resulted in a gap between the state and society in this volatile tribal belt. The growing exclusion of people from the political process has created a sense of deprivation and frustration among the masses, the report says and
  16. 16. 16 this disconnect was the reason that Taliban were able to consolidate their position in FATA by cutting away at the existing political system and killing the tribal elders and maliks. Speakers at the launch of the report on Tuesday referred to FATA as a classic example of alienation and said the region was run by remote control in an administrative and political vacuum. The report reflects the wishes of the people and their desire for political participation. Presenting the study, Sharafat Ali Choudhary said people have a Constitutional right to self government and there is a local government draft for the region in 2012. Legally, he said there is no bar on holding local bodies’ elections, especially when Parliamentary polls have been held several times. The Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) is a draconian law which still operates there and power is wielded by the all powerful political agent even today. Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch, the minister for States and Frontier Regions said there are no two opinions that local government elections should be held in FATA and he said the driver of reforms must be the people themselves. Slamming the corrupt institution of the political agent, he said even Jinnah had given assurance to the people of FATA that they would have a government of their choice. Senator Farhatullah Babar said the FATA region which was a buffer zone earlier to press the strategic depth policy was now a strategic threat. The report showed how FATA was governed differently from Pakistan with a special set of laws called the FCR, 1901, which was a top down authoritarian rule without accountability. The first draft for Local government regulation was prepared in 2002 and a controlled form of elections with limited participation was held in 2004. Another local government regulation draft was prepared in 2012 but this has to still be made into a law. Political Participation in FATA Spread over 27,220 sq km , and home to a dozen Pashtun tribes and scores of clans and sub tribes, this region is made up of seven administrative units called agencies and smaller Frontier Regions. Adult franchise was introduced in FATA in 1996 but the right to representation did not give the right to legislate for the region. Under Article 247 of the Constitution FATA comes under the executive authority of the President. For the first time people in FATA voted in a general election in 1997. The region has 12 seats in the National Assembly of the 342 and eight in the Senate. The first ever political parties based elections in FATA were held in 2013 after the extension of the political parties order. FATA has 1,738,313 registered voters including 596,079 women and the turnout last year was 37 per cent. The election recorded a higher turnout than 2008 specially that of women, despite threats against voters from the Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The report recommended a time frame for passing the local government law and for the elections, working for devolution of power at the local level, strengthening the jirga system, increased participation of women and involvement of political parties in elections. Ayesha Gulalai, member of the National Assembly from FATA, said that while taxes were collected from the region there was no acknowledgement and FATA did not get a share from the National Finance Commission. She further said that we talk of democracy but FATA is a dictatorship. There is no accountability and the jurisdiction of the attorney general is not extended to the region. The Political Parties Joint committee on FATA Reforms on Wednesday released an 11 point charter of demands which included a call for holding local bodies’ elections. Formed in 2010, the ten parties in this forum called for amending Article 247 to shift legislative powers from the President to the Parliament. Among the demands was separation of executive and judicial powers and strengthening of civil armed forces. It called for the extension of the jurisdiction of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority so that the media can have access to FATA. Download the new study: http://slideshare.net/fatanews/local-government-in- fata-failures-challenges-prospects-fata-research- centre-april-2014 Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south- asia/fata-demands-local-government- elections/article5940684.ece