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Fata to have local bodies

March 29, 2012

PESHAWAR, March 28: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Barrister Masood Kausar has said that a proposal about introducing local bodies system in Federally Administered Tribal Areas is under consideration.

“We are seriously considering turning the municipal committees in tribal areas into elected bodies, responsible for provision of civic amenities to the people,” he said while addressing the launching ceremony of final report on ‘Mainstreaming Fata’.

The report has been compiled by Shaheed Bhutto Foundation.

The governor said that the proposed local bodies would be comprising representatives of the respective communities, elected through balloting under a well-established democratic process for which necessary infrastructure was being laid down.

The ceremony, held at Governor’s House here on Wednesday, was attended by elders from all tribal agencies and frontier regions besides parliamentarians and people belonging to different segments of tribal society including political leaders and workers, ulema, intellectuals, lawyers and students.

Senator Farhatullah Babar, the chairman of Shaheed Bhutto Foundation, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan general secretary I.A. Rahman and MNA Munir Orakzai also spoke on the occasion, said a handout.

The governor hoped that the final report on ‘Mainstreaming Fata’ would prove helpful in future political, economic and social dispensation in the tribal areas.

Talking about reservations of certain quarters at amendments in Frontier Crimes Regulation, he made it clear that the amendments were not the last but the first step to bring the century-old legacy of colonial era in total conformity with justice and basic human rights.

“We don’t want to take arbitrary decision about Fata rather want to take the main stakeholders along while making such drastic and everlasting decisions,” Mr Kausar remarked.

He strongly refuted the observations of certain quarters on Fata Tribunal and its constitution, saying the tribunal had been constituted in accordance with its basic concept, which envisaged that it should be consisted of people, who were well-conversed to the customs and traditions as well as prevalent laws of Fata.

The governor, however, said that weaknesses and deficiencies, if found, would be removed in the long run.

He said that FCR was being brought into the ambit of the constitutions and for the first time the concept of bail and production of an accused before the magistrate within 24 hours had been introduced in Fata.

The tribunal, Mr Kausar added, was fully empowered having jurisdiction equivalent to Article 199 of the Constitution with full powers to declare any order null and void.

The governor said that extension of Political Parties Order to Fata was not an ordinary initiative. “It is a major step towards mainstreaming Fata on political front,” he said.

He added that political activities in tribal areas were being promoted and the political administration was directed to extend cooperation to every political party in its lawful political activities.