PESHAWAR: A multiparty conference on Monday asked the federal and provincial governments to withdraw appeals from the Supreme Court against the Peshawar High Court’s order of declaring the Action (In Aid of Civil Power) Ordinance, 2019, unconstitutional and repeal the recently-amended minerals sector governance act.
The speakers assailed the government for not implementing the recommendations of the Sartaj Aziz committee’s report on Fata reforms as well as the political, economic and administrative reforms in the merged district incorporated in 25th Constitutional Amendment.
The Qaumi Watan Party organised the conference titled ‘Fata Mainstreaming: Unfinished Business’ here.
QWP provincial chairman Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao presided over the conference, where leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Jamaat-i-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Awami National Party, National Party, Mazdoor Kisan Party, Pakhtunkhwa Ulasi Tehreek and Awami Workers Party, parliamentarians, members of the civil society, and academicians were in attendance.
A joint declaration issued in the concluding session of the conference criticised the government for failing to release funds amounting to billions of rupees for development schemes in the merged tribal districts and ensure the implementation of reforms in social, political and judicial sectors there.
Multiparty moot also resents failure to introduce Fata reforms
It declared that residents of the merged districts had a right to mines and mineral resources in their respective areas.
The declaration said the enforcement of the Action (In Aid of Civil Power) Ordinance and other such laws in merged districts was a violation of the Constitution and that the missing persons should be produced in courts of law.
“The transparent use of uplift funds through elected public representatives should be ensured besides merging the services of the Khassadar and Levies personnel into the regular police in a bid to strengthen the civil administration to better maintain the law and order,” the declaration said.
It said the interference of the provincial governor in the affairs of merged districts should be curtailed as the chief minister had the authority to exercise his powers after the constitutional amendment.
The declaration said the government should compensate the people, who suffered losses during the war against terrorism and the subsequent military operations in ex-Fata and demanded fresh population census in the merged areas in a bid to seek increase in the share of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the National Finance Commission Award. It also called for an impartial audit of the funds received from the international donor agencies for rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in the merged districts.
The declaration said the government should honour the pledges about the construction of hospitals, universities, colleges, and other infrastructure and extend interest-free loans to the residents, especially women.
The conference called for the establishment of banks and other financial institutions to facilitate the local population and facilitate the process of obtaining loans.
The speakers asked the government to ensure the provision of 30 percent funds from the provincial ADP to execute development work in merged districts.
Mr Sikandar said his party had reservations about the recent passage of the mineral act by the provincial assembly.
He said the law was passed in haste to deprive the people of the merged districts of their right of ownership to own resources.
The QWP leader said his party wanted equal rights for the people of the merged district.
He added that prosperity was meaningless without giving rights to the people.
Prof Shafiqur Rehman and senior geologist Bakhtiar Khan endorsed amendments to the minerals sector act and said the development sector should not be politicised.
They said all natural resources belonged to the state but the government should give proper royalty to the local communities.
The experts said the government should design a master plan for mineral sector, design a sustainable development policy and ensure the security of investment and investors in the region.
Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2019