Minister for SAFRON, Abdul Qadir Baloch on Thursday said report of a Committee on FATA Reforms-2016 is expected to be presented in next meeting of Federal Cabinet to get its approval for mainstreaming FATA.
The report has already been presented to Prime Minister Office and discussed in a meeting of National Action Plan where it was agreed to make its finding public to elicit further debate and develop national consensus.
Addressing a press conference here, Qadir Baloch said Chairperson of the FATA Reforms Committee was Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz while its members were Minister for SAFRON, Abdul Qadir Baloch, Minister for Law & Justice, Zahid Hamid, National Security Adviser, Lt. Gen (R) Nasser Khan Janjua, Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), and also Secretary SAFRON.
He said the total population in FATA is around 7 to 8 million and comprises the Agencies of Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Orakzai, Kurram, North Waziristan and South Waziristan, besides the Frontier Regions of Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu, Lakki, Tank and D.I.Khan.
Qadir Baloch said that the region faced Pakistan’s highest rate of endemic poverty and lowest development indicators, with its people facing huge deficit of human rights. He said the sessions of the Senate and National Assembly also held a debate and suggestions from all stakeholders were incorporated to make recommendations more effective.
The Minister said the Committee pointed that the consultation process brought forward four options of transformation of FATA which included maintaining of status-quo with minor changes; or granting special status to FATA like Gilgit-Baltistan; creating a separate province for FATA, or integrating FATA into KPK province.
Integrating FATA into KPK made more sense keeping in view close horizontal linkages of agencies and FRs with adjacent KPK districts. These trade and economic links were also reinforced by social and cultural consanguinity with FATA tribes, the Committee recommendations said.
Abdul Qadir Baloch said FATA Reforms Committee also favoured repealing the existing Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) with new “Tribal Areas Rewaj Act” and the Jirga system.
He said during the consultations all stakeholders expressed unanimity on Rewaj Act, terming it part of their age-old tradition. He said the provisions relating to collective responsibility in the FCR will be omitted in the new Act, thereby making an individual responsible for his own acts.
The Jirga system will remain prevalent in criminal and civil disputes, while it was also proposed to codify the “Rewaj” in each agency. The Committee also proposed to carry out land settlement in FATA so that this land asset can be capitalized to release locked up funds.—APP