Vice-President PPPP, Senator Sherry Rehman, criticized the rampant corruption an injustice that has become prevalent in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Speaking during the Senate Committee of the Whole meeting on FATA, the Senator expressed her disbelief over the misallocation of the PSDP saying, ‘The Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) allocation for FATA was only utilized by 60% according to the Minister. This is quite shocking to hear that one of the most underdeveloped areas in Pakistan saw Rs. 40 million lapses.
According to a recent UNDP report, the highest rates of poverty in Pakistan are in the FATA and Balochistan areas. The report revealed that over 73% of the people in FATA live in multidimensional poverty. The Senator pointed out that, ‘From the report, it seems like the FATA Committee did not consult women. Women in FATA are victims of both entrenched social attitudes that restrict their public and political space but have no voice in this reform which will greatly impact their lives. There needs to be a separate consultation with FATA’s women to make this meaningful’.
During the meeting, it was also disclosed that the Political Agent still had the power of levying a ‘cess’ or tax. ‘This is entirely illegal and unconstitutional and must be stopped forthwith because it only amounts to a plunder of the area. We demand a forensic audit of what the Political Agent has been doing.
This money must be returned to the people of FATA for their development,’ said Rehman. The Vice-President of PPPP added, ‘Despite the extension of the law to allow the Auditor General PR to review the accounts.