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Published Date: Mar 5, 2015

Fata residents should be involved in decision-making

ISLAMABAD: The people of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) are bearing the brunt of the military operation in their areas.

This was stated by former ambassador Ayaz Wazir while speaking at at a seminar on Peace and Reforms in Fata, organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) at a local hotel on Wednesday.

He said, “The problem is between the military and the militants but it is the common man of the tribal areas who suffers.”

“Hearts and minds cannot be won without giving rights to the people of Fata and involving them in decision-making.”

Mr Wazir said the people of Fata were kept away from the decision-making process but were still blamed for the blunders that resulted from the poor policies.

“Today, more than two million displaced tribesmen are suffering because the decisions were taken in Islamabad or at GHQ,” he said.

Mr Wazir said that maliks could not even present their demands to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) governor without the permission of the political agent.

“The Quaid-i-Azam gave a power-sharing formula for the tribal areas but a dictator withdrew it without taking locals into confidence,” he said.

Mr Wazir said that only twice has someone from the tribal areas been appointed governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and even then, one of them was a former army officer.

Former ambassador Khalid Aziz said Article 247 of the Constitution gives the concept of joint sovereignty, which is sharing power with the local people.

He said Fata was spread over 27,200 sq km with a population of four million. It was a gateway to South Asia and had remained part of India in the past, but not the British Empire.

Former NDU Commandant retired Lt-Gen Raza Mohammad Khan said that Pakistan had lost $80 billion and 50,000 lives in this war against militants.

He said that the unprotected areas of Fata was misused in the past, which had increased problems.

Former KP Inspector General Fiaz Khan Toru said police should be strengthened to fight terrorism, just as in Malakand, where the police won the war against militants. He said that an improved legal framework was important for the area. SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Suleri said that for a durable peace, it was important to improve food security in these areas.

“According to a study conducted by the SDPI, the bulk of the population back in 2003 was food insecure. Again in 2009, 82 per cent of the population was food insecure. Overall security situation cannot improve without first ensuring the human security,” he said.

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