LANDIKOTAL: Speakers at a seminar here on Sunday called for restoring the previous status of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) as there was no improvement in the lives of the people after the merger of the region with KP.
Fata Qaumi Jirga had arranged the seminar on the restoration of the special constitutional status of Fata here. A number of Maliks and tribal elders from Jamrud, Mulagori, Bara and Landikotal and former government officials turned up at the vent.
Manan Mulagori said the tribesmen were promised a vital change in the tribal districts in terms of development but nothing had been done so far. He said empty promises were made at that time to change the status of Fata. Malik Abdur Razaq Zakhakhel said the Fata merger with KP had snatched the identity from the tribal people. “We are neither considered tribesmen nor recognized as KP citizens,” he deplored.
The speaker stressed peace in the tribal areas as lawlessness was a cause of serious concern for residents of the tribal districts. Gul Mulagori said the tribal people were deceived in the name of the merger by the vested interest. “The jirga system was abolished intentionally to create chaos in the tribal areas,” he said, adding thousands of cases pertaining to land disputes had been filed in courts but these were pending decisions.
Malik Khalid Afridi said the tribal people were living in uncertainty as officials were yet to implement laws in the tribal districts. Malik Bismillah Afridi said a struggle had been launched for the restoration of Fata’s previous status. “The Fata was merged with KP without the consent of the 15 million tribal people,” he said alleging that Fata was merged constitutionally.
“It was foreign agenda which was implemented to play with the life and property of tribal people”, he said and called for changes to the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) and even Its abolition later.
He said a petition had been filed in the Supreme Court against the merger of Fata with KP as, he alleged, it was an unconstitutional act done by a group of people. He appealed to the apex court to decide the case.
Bismillah Afridi said a number of political leaders who had supported the Fata merger were now unhappy with their earlier decision. He alleged that Rs five billion meant for the tribal areas was used for carrying out the development work in the Peshawar cantonment.
The elder said hundreds of those not belonging to the tribal districts were recruited in the health, education and other line departments of the merged districts.
Bismillah Afridi said dozens of people had been killed in the land disputes which surfaced after the merger but the court had not resolved a single dispute. He lamented that the government did not bother to take tribal people on board while constructing installations in the tribal districts.