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Amendments to FCR approved

August 13, 2009

ISLAMABAD, Aug 12 The government approved on Wednesday a number of amendments to Frontier Crime Regulation (FCR) and political reforms in tribal areas, proposing to abolish controversial powers of the administration in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

The amendments were approved at a meeting jointly presided over by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani. The meeting urged the president to make the announcement about the amendments whenever he deemed it fit to do.

Under the FCR, political agents have powers to arrest a person under preventive detention and put him in jail for three years without trial. This punishment could be extended several times for three more years. Under the approved amendments, the 'obnoxious' sections had been done away with, an official who attended meeting told Dawn.

The meeting was convened to consider a report of the Cabinet Committee on the Frontier Crime Regulation, proposing amendments to the 100-year-old law applicable only in tribal areas. The meeting was attended by Minister for Environment Hameedullah Jan Afridi, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Minister for Safron Najmuddin Khan, Minister for Zakat and Ushr Noor ul Haq Qadri, NWFP Governor Owais Ghani and ministers of state and senior officials.

President's spokesman Farhatullah Babar said the meeting appreciated the work done by the cabinet committee set up by the prime minister last year to propose suitable changes in the FCR.

While finalising the report, the cabinet committee also considered previous reports prepared in consultations with tribal representatives.

The meeting recalled that on Nov 29, 2004, the Senate had adopted a unanimous resolution seeking amendments to the FCR. In August, 2005, the Senate had endorsed the report of its Human Right Committee on amendments to the FCR, the president's spokesman said.

Mr Babar said that under the Constitution, the president had powers to amend Fata regulations.