Demand to enforce FATA reforms bill

ISLAMABAD: Implementing Fata Reform Bill in selected tribal areas only, will be against the spirit of the law, said PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said on Monday.

Babar said the bill extending jurisdiction of Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court to Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) is a historic event, however, there are two major ambiguities in the bill – one is the central government’s jurisdiction to enact the bill through notification and second is the central government’s liberty to implement the law where and when required.

He was speaking at a roundtable titled Fata Reforms: The Current Trends and Way Forward organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

Criticising the act of the government as mala fide, Babar demanded of the government to immediately seize this opportunity with some requisite amendments and implement the bill which shall come in force at once in all areas.

Justice (retd) Mian Muhammad Ajmal said that there is a need to amend or repeal Article 247 of the Constitution to implement the bill and if the government does not do this the passage of bill from the National Assembly will be of no use.

ANP leader and Ex-senator Afrasiab Khattak said even after freedom from British rule, unfortunately, Fata remained an excluded region till today. FCR was a great injustice to the people of Fata where people were deprived of basic human rights, he said, adding that there are no big hurdles for reforms within Fata, but hurdles were created in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

Fata Secretariat and SAFRON have no capacity and will to implement the reforms, therefore, should not be given such responsibility. Khattak suggested that there should be some effective reforms’ implementation mechanism in place, which is formulated with all stakeholders.

He further said the next big challenge is to transform the huge black economy of Fata into formal and documented economy. 

Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd, 2018. 

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