Door opened on FATA reforms must not be closed: Babar

FATA also needed a renewed identity: Chattan

Sarwar Awan

Islamabad

Senator Farhatullah Babar on Thursday said that door opened on the reforms of FATA must not be closed as FATA needs to get rid of FRC and executive orders from Islamabad, as a last colonial legacy.
He said this while addressing a seminar on “The Merger of FATA,” arranged by Shaheed Bhutto Foundation, here at SZABIST campus Auditorium.
Farhatullah Babar and other speakers were of the opinion that peace in rest of Pakistan is conditional to the peace in FATA, which is again conditional with the peace in Afghanistan.
Senator from FATA, Sajid Hussain Turi, Senator Rubina Khalid, Akhunzada Chattan, Ayaz Wazir, Afrasiyab Khattak, Asif Khan, Anita Mehsud also addressed the seminar whch was hugely attended by representatives from different tribes of FATA, political parties, civil society activists, academia and concerned citizens.
Senator Farhatullah Babar was very passionate, as he spoke with his concluding remarks that the drivers of change in FATA were its own people and no other actors, who are politicizing the proposed merger, at its critical time when there was a consensus across the country on its board-based reforms, most preferably its conditional and gradual merger with the KP.
Senior analyst, Ayaz Wazir advocated that, in the light of broader and longer interests, the demand of a separate province carried more weight, as with that option, FATA, would have an access to more resources, representation. However, this option was strongly opposed by other speakers and attendees. On which, he responded that, instead of a merger of FATA with KP, a separate province would be more beneficial and futuristic. For this, as an option, no one should grossly overrule or discard that.
Senator Sajid Hussain Turi, who himself belonged to FATA passionately seconded the option of a merger instead of other options — either referendum or status quo, as he argued be proceeded without any delay, otherwise, since last seventy years, FATA was stuck in between rule of law or as otherwise, negatively known in rest of county and abroad.
Senator Turi also suggested several points for its inclusion in the proposed Rawaj Act that had to replace as and when FCR is discarded with the proposed reform package. He emphasized more on the latest census, resource allocation, developmental package and an issue of IDPs that needed rehabilitation, before any reform package on the fate of Fata.
Senator Rubina Khalid appreciated the reform package on FATA and provided a critical appraisal on its way-forward.
Akhunzada Chattan, a former PPP, MNA from FATA, demanded that like naming of NWFP to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA also needed a renewed identity that it lacked since the birth of country. Before any reform, he demanded a three-pronged solution. For which he asked for peace to the FATA, which he thought was dependent on the rehabilitation of IDPs.
Asif Khan criticized Maulana Fazl Rehman and Mehmood Khan Achakzai, on becoming a last-minute barriers towards FATA reforms as Cabinet is skeptical and reluctant to approve since months.
Aneeta Mehdud, a PTI activist clearly advocated the merger of FATA with KP, as she thought, an age-old mindset and mechanisms were the real barrier for making it happen.
Earlier, Sikandar Ali Hullio, Chief Executive, Shaheed Bhutto Foundation, welcomed all participants and briefed that, SBF has been closely monitoring and facilitating the reform package on FATA in both technical and opinion-making capacities.

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