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December 21, 2016

Fata reforms package again stalled 


December 21, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Fata reforms package prepared by prime minister’s high powered team led by his Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz seems to be facing the same fate which several commissions and committees have met in the past. A committee of ten major political parties had also prepared a reforms package but before its presentation to the government the PPP government was replaced by the PML-N. Another commission comprising retired bureaucrats also forwarded its recommendations to the former governor KP but that too was abandoned.

It is strange that how the federal government committee missed out the vital links especially government’s own ally JUI-F in taking it on board by creating consensus with it as party’s chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman who had opposed the recommendations on floor of the National Assembly when it was tabled and then continued to attack it horizontally and vertically. The federal cabinet which decided to delay implementation of the Fata Reforms Committee (FRC) report has virtually stalled it for the time being and the Fata parliamentarians who had threw their full weight behind the committee report and even demanded immediate merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to enable the tribesmen take part in 2018 general elections and to hold local councils polls before that are awed by the abrupt voices of discontent and disagreement with the report.

It is worth mentioning that the government committee has in its reforms package proposed a 3 percent of national resources for the development of Fata areas till it was merged with the KP province and if the package is held in abeyance on any pretext the tribal belt would continue to be deprived of additional financial resources to change their economic and infrastructure development for, any fund that is released through the present system would have no assurance it would be judiciously spent.

Ajmal Khan Wazir, a leader of PML-Q and having a tribal background expressed his profound concerned over the creating of big divide on the Fata reforms package fearing that the ambitious plan of enhancing the share of tribal belt in the divisible pool may also not materialise and the hope of development of the areas to bring them at par with other areas of the country would remain a dream. Talking to The News on Monday Wazir who was also convener of a ten mainstream political parties on a Fata reforms committee set up during PPP rule in 2010 advised all the stakeholders, Fata parliamentarians, federal and provincial government’s representatives as well as the political parties like the JUI-F who have their elected members in the National Assembly and Senate to get together and to find out a middle way which would end up at the agreement on a consensus political cum financial reforms package for the troubled tribal areas. He said if this opportunity of bringing qualitative change in the lives of tribesmen is lost there would no hope remaining for mainstreaming of the tribal population which is living in abject poverty and all social ills.

He criticised the government for not including tribal parliamentarians at the committee to make its report more acceptable for all segments of the tribal society. He said although majority of the tribal MNAs (11) and Senators (8) are fully on board as far as the recommendation for the merger of Fata areas with the KP province there are few lawmakers belonging to parties who are opposed to merger proposal.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman while speaking at his party’s rally at Peshawar on Sunday suggested a referendum on the issue and said he had made the Sartaj committee speechless when they came to him for deliberating the proposed Fata package.


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