PESHAWAR: Almost all mainstream political parties demanded of the government during a jirga here on Monday to hold negotiations with the non-state actors instead of conducting military operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
The jirga was organised by All Political Parties (Fata), a conglomeration of different political forces including Jamaat-i-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F, Pakistan People's Party, Awami National Party, Pakistan Tihrek-i-Insaf and both factions of Pakistan Muslim League, at Nishter Hall.
The jirga rejected the newly introduced Aid of Civil Power Regulation, 2011 in Fata and Frontier Crimes Regulation and demanded political and administrative reforms in tribal areas. However, the participants of the jirga failed to develop a consensus whether the tribal areas should be integrated with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or left as they were.
A tribal elder proposed at the jirga that Fata should be declared a separate province named as 'Pakhtunistan'. Other participants rebuked him for demanding a separate province. However, leader of PTI from tribal area supported the elder's proposal and assured him that his party would give status of province to Fata if it came into power.
The JI favoured limited autonomy for Fata and proposed elected council for the region, but unlike PPP and ANP it did not support its integration with the province.
The jirga through a joint declaration called upon the government to bring insurgents in Fata to the negotiation table. The declaration said that the US had announced troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and started talks with Afghan Taliban.
“Our government should stop military action and resolve issues through talks in the light of joint resolution of the parliament,” it said. The jirga condemned detention of people by security forces during military operations and demanded open trial of them.
The jam-packed hall echoed with anti Obama slogans when the jirga opposed drone attacks in Fata, terming them inhuman and unlawful.
The jirga took strong exception to detention of 170 elders of Safi tribe by the political administration of Mohmand Agency and demanded their immediate release.
The participants of the jirga said that administration detained the 170 elders when they refused to set up a lashkar against militants in their area about two months ago.
The declaration asked security forces to refrain from forcing tribesmen to raise lashkar, illegal detention and imposition of fines. It also asked President Asif Ali Zardari to extend Political Parties Order, 2002 to Fata and bring major amendments in FCR. Addressing the jirga, JUI leader from Fata Ainuddin Shakir said that despite presence of over 100,000 troops tribal people were feeling insecure.
“We don't know whether army has been deployed for security of tribal people or tribesmen will provide security to the troops,” he said, adding the honour and dignity of local people were at stake. He alleged that tribal people were treated as slaves. He demanded restoration of fundamental rights of the people of Fata. He said that federal government should abolish unnecessary checkposts and checkpoints in Fata.
PPP parliamentarian from Bajaur Agency Akhunzada Chattan in his address rejected the new regulation signed by the president for Fata. He said that government should take all stakeholders on board before introducing the regulation in Fata. JI provincial chief Senator Mohammad Ibrahim Khan, Vice-chairman of Pakistan Bar Council Abdul Lateef Afridi, PPP leader Malik Waris Khan Afridi and JUI provincial chief Maulana Amanullah addressed the jirga.