Local govt system to be introduced in FATA by 2017

209
Local govt system to be introduced in FATA by 2017

ISLAMABAD, Sep 2 (APP): Local government system will be establised in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) by 2017 as proposed by FATA reforms committee set up by the federal government.

According to FATA secretariat sources, the new local set up will be part of FATA reforms and political parties will contest the elections.

The government has plans to launch far reaching reforms in FATA to bring the region in the national main-stream.

The reform proposals were prepared by a five-member committee headed by foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz and include sweeping political, administrative, judicial and security measures for FATA.

A massive reconstruction of the area is also underway and many projects will be completed before the end of 2018.

The committee has recommended a 10 year multi billion comprehensive development plan for the region.

The committee has recommended the formation of a special
committee of experts and officials under the KP governor to prepare the development plan.

While another milestone will be that the temporarily dislocated persons will be rehabilitated by the end of 2016.

The government will also initiate implementation of legal reforms besides undertaking a comprehensive capacity building program for law enforcement agencies and a well defined and well designed program for land settlement.

The issue of land ownership is vital for tribesmen in an area where land is still collectively owned.

The proposed legal reforms include extending the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Peshawar High Court to FATA and deletion of the collective responsibility clause from the FCR.

Among the recommendations that need to be further debated at public forums including parliament is the replacement of the FCR with a “Tribal Areas Rewaj Act”, retention of the tribal jirga system for both civil and criminal matters with judges appointing a ‘council of elders’ to decide cases in accordance with rewaj (traditions).

Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) was enacted by British in 1901 to govern the tribal areas for its own objectives.

Another proposal is the gradual merger of FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under a plan.

The FATA reforms are initiated under the National Action Plan formulated in December 2014.

The reforms enjoy widespread support as the Sartaj Aziz led committee visited all tribal agencies and held meetings with the elected representatives of those areas – including businessmen, tribal elders (Maliks), educated youth, religious leaders and members of civil society – to ascertain their point of view before finalising the recommendations for the future of FATA.

The panel also held meetings with the notables of all frontier regions (FRs) and other stakeholders before putting the reform proposals before Prime Minister at a meeting.