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— File Photo.

ISLAMABAD: Tribal leaders belonging to the mainstream political parties have expressed concern over the ‘poor’ implementation of the Political Parties Order in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and criticised the Election Commission of Pakistan for not taking adequate steps to ensure free, fair and transparent polls in the region.

These views were expressed at a meeting attended by more than 50 representatives of 11 political parties, said PML-Q’s senior vice president Ajmal Khan Wazir, who is also a member of the joint committee on Fata reforms.

The reforms committee was constituted about two years ago to develop consensus on electoral reforms and amendments to the Frontier Crimes Regulation and extension of the Political Parties Order to Fata.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Wazir said the meeting held at a hotel in Islamabad on Saturday was attended by representatives of the PPP, PML-N, PML-Q, Awami National Party, Jamaat-i-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, National Party, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf and Qaumi Watan Party.

He said the Fata committee had sent a letter to the ECP in December last, asking it to take measures to ensure free and fair polls in Fata where political parties would be contesting the elections for the first time.

He said the committee had asked the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) and Election Commission of Pakistan “to increase efforts to register voters in Fata” and recommended that “a targeted campaign should be launched immediately to provide Fata citizens with computerised national identity cards (CNICs) and register them as voters with special emphasis on women and internally displaced persons (IDPs)” living in camps.

The meeting, according to an official handout, criticised the Election Commission of Pakistan and Nadra for their failure to speed up registration of voters and provide adequate access to CNIC facilities in Fata.

Some politicians accused the security establishment, political agents and militants of restricting their movement in Fata and said intelligence agencies were intimidating them and their workers.

The tribal leaders said that extension of Pemra jurisdiction to Fata was essential for ensuring free and transparent elections in the region.