PESHAWAR: President Asif Ali Zardari will host two separate Iftar dinners for the tribal elders on August 12 and 13 at the Presidency, political agents and representatives of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) before announcing an extension of the Political Parties Act to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) on August 14.
Sources told The News that the tribal Jirga comprising 10 elders from each tribal agency along with the political agents of all tribal agencies will meet the president on August 13 to discuss the expected extension of the act to Fata.
The president has also invited the representatives of major political parties and members of the NDI on August 12 at 4pm, who had discussed and unanimously demanded extension of the act to tribal areas.
The NDI, in collaboration with the British High Commission, had invited all political parties having representation in parliament to discuss how to introduce reforms in Fata. After deliberations for a month, the participants unanimously suggested the extension of the act to Fata to open the doors for political and administrative reforms.
Before holding final meeting with President Asif Zardari on May 25, the NDI committee members authorised the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Fata Organiser Anwar Kamal Khan to present a unanimous report of their committee seeking extension of the Political Parties Act to the tribal areas. The committee had already held meetings with the central leaders of various parties in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
When approached, senior PML-N leader Anwar Kamal said he had told the president that their all-party committee had the trust of their central leaders and their unanimous demand should be considered the voice of the entire 180 million Pakistanis.
Meanwhile, the presidents of all the major political parties in Fata signed an agreement with the political agents to follow the code of conduct after the expected extension of the Political Parties Act to the tribal areas on August 14.
The presidents of Pakistan People’s Party, PML-N, Awami National Party, PML-Quaid, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, Jamaat-e-Islami and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf in Khyber Agency signed the agreement.
The sources said that after the extension of the act, it will be binding on the political parties in every tribal agency to inform the political agents at least seven days before organising any meeting or inviting their central or provincial leaders to the tribal areas.
The sources said that the political parties would not force anyone in the markets to close down their business centres and shops during any political activity. The political parties would also ensure that their workers remain peaceful in their meetings and procession and do not damage the government properties. A tribal jirga having representation of political parties would have to take a unanimous decision against anyone violating the code of conduct and present their decision in writing to the political administration, which would take action against the violators.