Wednesday April 24, 2024

Petition disposed of: PHC says referendum on Fata status job of federal government

By Akhtar Amin
March 28, 2018

PESHAWAR: A division bench of Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday disposed of a writ petition seeking an order for separate province for federally administered tribal areas (Fata) with observations that to conduct referendum over the merger or separate province was the job of the federal government and not of the high court.

“The high court has no jurisdiction to entertain the writ petition under Article 199 seeking an order for referendum over the merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or separate province. This is the job of the federal government and the tribal people have elected representatives in the parliament to raise such a demand,” Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan observed this while heading a two-member bench in the case.

Justice Muhammad Ayub Khan was the second judge in the bench.

During arguments of the case, Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan asked the lawyer to file the case at the appropriate forum. However, Noor Alam Khan and Farooq Afridi, counsels for the petitioner, informed the court that it would be appropriate to order for referendum about the fate of Fata.

The petition was moved by regional president of Pakistan Justice and Democratic Party for Fata, Daulat Shah Afridi, a resident of Landikotal, Khyber Agency. He has sought separate province status for Fata instead of merger with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“The Fata be given a separate status by abstaining from integration with the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A separate legislative system be arranged for Fata by amending the Constitution who could legislate for people of Fata and have legislative control over Fata,” it was prayed in the petition.

The tribal man said the government constituted a committee for introducing reforms in Fata. It submitted its report and placed four basic options to either maintain status quo with regard to main elements of the present system in Fata but introduce judicial reforms and increase focus on development activities.

The second option stated to grant special status to Fata on the pattern of Gilgit-Baltistan Council.

The third option was to create separate province for Fata comprising seven tribal agencies and forth option was to integrate Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province with each agency becoming a separate district.