PESHAWAR: Takrah Qabailee Khwenday (TQK) has announced to lobby for challenging the Fata Interim Governance Regulation 2018 that was promulgated before merger of tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on May25 by President Mamnoon Hussain.

TQK, a network of women rights activists hailing from tribal areas and its founding member Rukhshinda Naz, heading the Women Action Forum, in a consultation with civil society representing KP and Fata discussed some of the clauses of the newly-promulgated Regulation after the previous National Assembly passed the law to merge the Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Rukhshinda Naz, who discussed the regulation section wise and gathered the meaning from each section in comparison to the old law prevailing in the tribal areas, called it ‘old wine in a new bottle’.

Rukhshinda Naz calls the regulation ‘old wine in a new bottle’

Most of the civil society representatives hailing from tribal areas objected to the unspecified ‘interim period’, powers of political agents of tribal agencies given to deputy commissioners of tribal districts and presence of Council of Elders despite extension of judiciary to the tribal districts after merger of the tribal areas with settled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

They objected that executive and judicial powers were still retained in the office of the deputy commissioner and for the tribal people it meant nothing much different than living under a powerful political agent under the previous administrative and legal set-up.

The consultative meeting decided to hold further discussions with more civil society members for lobbying to include more petitioners hailing from tribal districts so that the Regulation could be challenged.

The network noted down that a committee would gather more advice from people on social media to include their support and opinion in the petition.

The consultative meeting was unanimous in filing a petition to challenge and do away with the Fata Interim Governance Regulation 2018 as it was strange that people were assured of merger and rights like rest of the country, but the Regulation deprived them of the same.

They said that merger of tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa meant the people of tribal areas would have a separate judiciary and executive and be part of the legislature.

They said that if there was one interim governance regulation for tribal districts, a Nizam-i-Adal Regulation for Pata and regular laws in rest of the province, it was unconstitutional that three different sets of laws were operating in one country.

One of the participants from Khyber Agency, Said Alam, said that Fata Interim Governance Regulation looked more like the FCR operated upon a cosmetic surgery.

Mehreen Afridi, a rights activist, said that they should run a trend on social media to gather views of other people who were in support of merger in real terms with regular laws, and not that retained the old system.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2018

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