Decision to install transitional mechanism for Fata reforms

Published September 9, 2017
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chairs a meeting of the National Committee on the Implementation of Fata Reforms on Friday.—APP
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chairs a meeting of the National Committee on the Implementation of Fata Reforms on Friday.—APP

ISLAMABAD: In a major step towards implementation of Fata (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) reforms, the committee overseeing the process decided on Friday to install a transitional mechanism.

“It was decided to put in place an appropriate administrative mechanism... (and) to create a position of Chief Operating Officer for the period of transition,” a statement issued by the Prime Minister Office after the meeting said, noting that the decision was part of the steps agreed for expediting the implementation process.

The decision taken at the first meeting of the National Committee on the Implementation of Fata Reforms, chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, in effect has revived the package for mainstreaming of the tribal areas after it was frozen by Nawaz Sharif-led government under pressure from its coalition partners — JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chairman Mehmood Khan Achakzai.

The session of the committee was meant to set the guidelines for future action for the implementation of the reforms.

The Fata Reforms Package was approved by the federal cabinet on March 2, but the government later deferred the Reforms Bill in the National Assembly due to political expediencies.

The committee that had proposed the reforms was, subsequent to the approval of the package by the federal cabinet, converted into the implementation body. The committee has now been upgraded with the inclusion of prime minister, who heads it, chief of army staff, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister and commander of 11 Corps.

Besides approving creation of administrative set-up, the high-level body took several decisions for Fata’s political, legal, economic and security mainstreaming.

“The Prime Minister directed the Minister for Law and Justice to fast track legislative and administrative measures for the mainstreaming of Fata so that the people of Fata can have access to the fundamental rights at par with the people in the rest of Pakistan. The Committee approved the fast track recruitment of Police and redeployment of some of the Frontier Constabulary, after training, to perform police functions,” the statement said.

Fata, it is estimated, would require a 20,000 strong force for policing in the region. Part of this force, as per the decision, would come from the existing Frontier Constabulary.

Army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa briefed the committee on security operations in the region and steps being taken to strengthen security and border infrastructure and development of the area.

Military has been one of the proponents of the Fata reforms and it has been pushing for their implementation. The institutional view has been that Fata reforms are imperative for development of the tribal areas and sustaining the achievements of the security forces.

Corps Commanders moot Gen Bajwa earlier chaired a Corps Commanders’ Conference at General Headquarters, which discussed internal and external security situation of the country and progress of operation Radd-ul- Fasaad, the Inter Services Public Relations, media wing of the military, said.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2017

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