Thursday April 25, 2024

Tribal maliks challenge legality of Fata merger with KP in SC

By Sohail Khan
March 04, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Maliks of various tribal agencies have challenged the legality of Fata Reforms Committee 2016 recommendations in the Supreme Court with a claim that majority of people in tribal areas are not in support of merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The federal cabinet the other day approved the merger of tribal areas into KP after accepting the recommendations of Fata Reforms Committee. Malik Waris Khan Afridi of Khyber Agency, Malik Khan Marjan of North Waziristan Agency, Malik Attaullah of South Waziristan, Malik Bahadur Shah of Bajaur and Malik Baz Gul of Darra Adamkhel, FR Kohat filed a joint constitutional petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution through Dr Muhammad Ali Saif.

The petitioners also attached affidavits of as many as 100 eminent persons from all the seven agencies of Fata with the petition. They have made the Federation of Pakistan, secretary Cabinet Division, President of Pakistan through secretary Aiwan-e-Sadr, prime minister through principal secretary, minister of States and Frontier Regions (Safron) through secretary Safron and governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as respondents.

The petitioners submitted that constitutional provisions bar the prime minister from taking decision on Fata. They alleged that constitution of the FATA Reforms Committee, holding of consultation meetings with people in Fata, preparation of a report by the committee and recommendations is an eyewash to circumvent the mandatory requirement of holding of a tribal jirga as provided in Article 247(6). “It amounts to a futile attempt to portray the so-called meetings with stakeholders as an exercise to seek opinion of public in tribal areas in order to satisfy rather circumvent a mandatory constitutional requirement and to present its findings as an expression of the real and genuine wishes of tribesmen,” the petitioners claimed, adding that the assertion that the majority of public in tribal areas is in support of merger with KP is absolutely baseless and false.

They contended that speakers whose names have been mentioned in the Fata reforms report and wherein an impression has been given on their behalf that they had expressed support for merger of Fata with KP have denied these claims. The petitioners submitted that the impugned notification of the constitution of Fata Reforms Committee issued by the prime minister is illegal and thereby void as per Article 247.

“As a consequence thereof, the Fata Reforms Committee constituted by virtue of the said notification is also illegal and has no legal and constitutional mandate to undertake reforms process in Fata,” the petitioners contended.

They prayed the apex court to direct the concerned authorities to constitute a new committee for proposing reforms in Fata by the order of the President of Pakistan in accordance with the Article 247 of the Constitution with a reasonable representation form Fata.