PESHAWAR/ GHALANAI: All Fata Political Parties Alliance has rejected replacement of the Frontier Crimes Regulation with Riwaj Act and urged the government to merge the Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa before 2018 otherwise the alliance would launch a protest movement in this regard.

Speaking at a press conference at Peshawar Press Club on Saturday, the alliance president, Sardar Khan, said that Riwaj Act had nothing to do with demands of the people and that it would prove another FCR. As such, the political parties would oppose it, he said.

Flanked by the political alliance leaders Jahangir Afridi, Iqbal Afridi, Shah Faisal Afridi and others, Sardar Khan demanded of the federal government to merge Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa before 2018 so that tribal people could elect their representatives to the KP Assembly. He resolved that they would continue struggle for the constitutional, legal and other rights of the Fat people.

Sardar Khan, who is also Fata JI chapter chief, opposed the government’s announcement to implement Riwaj Act and said that it was meant to create further confusion among the people.

The alliance leader asked the government to extend the 1973 Constitution to the region, which was essential for the progress and prosperity of Fata and its people.

He said that the status of Fata and role of political administration was not clear in the reforms agenda. In the prevailing situation, he suggested that powers of political agents should be withdrawn.

Sardar Khan asked the government to take practical steps for the establishment of medical colleges and technical and engineering universities under an education emergency in Fata. He also demanded 40 seats for the tribal areas in the KP Assembly on the basis of its population. Moreover, he demanded share for tribal areas in the National Finance Commission Award.

The political alliance said that census in Fata should be conducted after complete rehabilitation of the internally displaced persons so as to ensure collection of proper data.

In Ghalanai, Mohmand Agency ANP president Nisar Mohmand welcomed the proposed reforms and said the tribal people would now be able to elect their representatives to the provisional assembly.

He, however, said that they had some reservations about the timeframe of the reforms. About the Riwaj Act, he said that it was a discriminatory law and they would challenge it in the Supreme Court. He urged the tribesmen to take part in the upcoming census in the area so as to get more seats in the provincial assembly.

PPP KP vice-president Akhunzada Chatan termed the decision eyewash and said that PML-N government was not sincere with the people of Fata. He also criticised the government for giving a timeframe of five years for implementation of the reforms.

He said that all the Fata reforms such as extension of Political Parties Act and amendments to the black law were done by the PPP government.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2017

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