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The Nation

Published Date: Jan 23, 2018

Speakers demand immediate enforcement of FATA reforms

People’s Party Senator Farhatullah Babar on Monday identified two major ‘ambiguities’ in the bill recently passed by National Assembly for extending jurisdiction of Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court to Federally-Administered Tribal Areas.
One is the federal government’s jurisdiction to enact the bill through notification and second is the federal government’s liberty to implement the law where and when required, the senator said while speaking at a roundtable titled, ‘FATA Reforms: The Current Trends and Way Forward’, organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday.
Criticising the act as mala fide, Babar stressed the government to immediately seize the opportunity with some requisite amendments and implement the bill which shall come in force at once in all areas.
Justice (R) Mian Ajmal said that there was a need to amend or repeal Article 247 of the Constitution to implement the bill and if the government did not do this, the passage of the bill from the National Assembly would be of no use.
ANP leader Afrasiab Khattak said that unless put to operation through notification, they do not see any progress on the bill, adding that FATA Secretariat and SAFRON had no capacity and will to implement Fata Reforms. He said that the next big challenge was to transform the black economy of Fata into formal and documented economy.
Senior journalist Zahid Hussain that some of the state forces had vested interest in Fata which was of political nature, and there was a lack of political will on the issue. On fiscal side, he said, it seems that federal and provincial governments were not willing to spare their resources for Fata.
He added that passage of the bill from National Assembly would be unproductive unless there was a legal infrastructure in place. To establish the writ of the state in Fata require strong institutional arrangements to avoid any conflict, he added.
SDPI’s Senior Researcher Shakeel Ahmed Ramay said that the aim of today’s discussion was to build consensus and ownership for the longstanding issue confronting Fata that had been affecting not only the region but also the whole fabric of Pakistani society.
Youth representatives from FATA demanded merger of Fata with KP and writ of the Constitution in the region. They also sought fundamental rights for people of Fata like other citizens of Pakistan as per Constitution.