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Friday May 19 2017

PPP rejects government's draft act on FATA: Zardari


LAHORE: Former president and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Friday said that his party rejects government's act on Federally Administered Tribal Areas saying that PPP will fully back FATA representatives if they stage a sit-in in Islamabad.

A delegation of former parliamentarians from FATA, led by Shahji Gul Afridi, called on the former president in Islamabad today. Zardari told the delegates that his party rejects 'Governor Rule and Permit Rule' in tribal areas. He assured them of PPP's full participation if they stage a sit-in in the federal capital.

He told the FATA representatives that if they staged a sit-in in Ramazan, then he would himself provide 'Iftar' to the participants.

Speaking to media after the meeting, Shahji Gul Afridi accused Maulana Fazlur Rahman, chief of Jamiat Uleman Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), of trying to keep the tribal people in dark.

The government on May 15 introduced two bills for reforms in FATA and later referred to the Standing Committee on SAFRON for further deliberations.

The bills, introduced in the House by the Minister for SAFRON Abdul Qadir Baloch, included the Constitution (Thirtieth Amendment) Bill 2017 and the Tribal Areas Rewaj Bill 2017.


Both of the bills were referred to the relevant committees of SAFRON instead of Standing Committee on Law & Justice, following the directives of Speaker Ayaz Sadiq on Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah and PPP lawmaker Syed Naveed Qamar's demand.

The Constitution (Thirtieth Amendment) Bill 2017 was tabled in the House as the federal cabinet on March 2, 2017, in principle approved the integration of FATA with the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

According to the bill's statement of objects and reasons, FATA, being a part of KP after such integration, will require its representation in the provincial assembly.

Furthermore, post-integration scenario will see a substantial reduction in the Senate seats for FATA, which will be duly and adequately compensated through the creation of seats for FATA in the KP Assembly, according to their population.

Creation of such seats is also of paramount importance for the fact that, if delayed, it will not only hamper the integration or the mainstreaming of FATA, but also neglect a favorable opportunity, which might become a distant possibility before the next general elections in 2023.

The Tribal Areas Rewaj Bill 2017 focuses on the introduction of a legal system, which will provide for retaining the Rewaj, in accordance with the aspirations of tribal people while safeguarding their fundamental rights.

The bill envisages that certain amendments may be incorporated in CrPC and CPC for customization and shaping it to incorporate the traditional Jirga system for adjudication in FATA, thereby, determining the roles and fixing responsibilities between the executive and judicial officers.

It is designed to be promulgated in the protected areas of FATA in a gradual manner, for which the availability and the provision of a necessary judicial and prosecution infrastructure coupled with a well-trained levies force is of paramount importance.

The Rewaj Bill, in its essence, thus provides for the extension of jurisdiction of Supreme Court of Pakistan and Peshawar High Court which in collaboration with an alternate system of dispute resolution in the form of a Jirga system for provision of a speedy justice system to the people of the area, which this act shall apply.

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