Tangible move on FATA

AS political parties and different stakeholders were not on the same page as what exactly to do with recommendations of the Committee on FATA Reforms, the Federal Cabinet, on Tuesday took a tangible step in approving a draft law for placement before Parliament that would extend jurisdiction of the Islamabad High Court and Supreme Court to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and hence extension of normal laws of the land to the region. It was decided that after its passage by Parliament, abolition of FCR, extension of jurisdiction of superior courts and implementation of normal laws would be enforced in tribal areas in a phased manner.
Government really deserves credit for taking practical steps to fulfil longstanding demands of people of FATA for grant of their fundamental rights as Pakistanis. No doubt, FCR had some positive elements as well and that is why it remained in force for so long yet there was absolutely no justification that people of FATA should be deprived of freedom, rights and liberty that were being enjoyed by their compatriots elsewhere in the country. But extension of normal laws of the land and policing would also pose a challenge as normal system for dispensation of justice is not as efficient as the prevailing system in FATA and both police and the judiciary will have to demonstrate that the change is good for the local population. Fuller details of the proposed law are not available but obviously the question and modus operandi of merger of FATA with KP have been left unattended. We believe that this is appropriate time to introduce and implement all the required reforms and changes in FATA that suit the region and interests of the country. Politicking or protection of vested interests would harm the country in the long run as we are seeing the consequences of long neglect of the region – giving rise to extremism and terrorism.

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