ISLAMABAD: Terrorism-stricken parts of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) require special attention of the government for their development but they appear to be the least priority of the authorities concerned. Fata people were initially tormented by terrorism and now by a step-motherly attitude of the government.
This is the gist of a special report by a sub-committee of the Senate’s Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions released on Friday.
The panel held threadbare discussions on development issues of Fata, particularly South Waziristan Agency (SWA), and problems being faced by its people, says the report’s preamble.
Senate committee calls for improving socio-economic conditions
The report, which focuses on SWA, says that there cannot be any comparison between the situation in South Waziristan and other parts of Fata. Militancy and terrorism have created immense problems for SWA where development activities have come to a standstill and infrastructure has been severally damaged over the past 10 years.
“This situation has led to deterioration in socioeconomic conditions of the area and brought provision of basic facilities to the residents to zero level,” it says.
The report observes that the Fata Annual Development Plans (ADP) for 2015-16 and 2016-17 contain new education and health facilities in different tribal agencies, but such schemes for SWA have been abandoned. The development schemes launched in the region in 2007 and beyond could not be completed because of the law and order situation there.
The report says that the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa issued clear directives to retain development schemes of SWA in umbrella and execute them after restoration of law and order in the agency. But this is not being done which is beyond comprehension.
It says that the Fata Secretariat has also exempted from the Fata Rationalisation Policy the areas where military operations are still in progress, particularly South and North Waziristan.
The sub-committee has submitted the following recommendations: All the umbrella schemes in health and education sectors, which have been removed from the ADP, must be restored.
Frozen schemes of SWA must immediately be restored and completed on a priority basis. Most of the ADP’s umbrella schemes for SWA were approved projects, but the Fata Secretariat has changed their status to unapproved category. Therefore, the original status of the schemes should be restored and the remaining unapproved umbrella schemes may also be approved as per the previous policy.
The Fata Rationalisation Policy, which was introduced in 2015 and is being implemented from retrospective date, must be reviewed as the situation is beyond control and the policy is not applicable/feasible in most of the agencies of Fata. The policy is also contradictory to the principles of natural justice.
Published in Dawn November 28th, 2016