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Bilawal calls for FATA reforms; Condemns government’s neglect of the IDPS as “criminal”

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Condemns government’s neglect of the IDPS as “criminal”
Says the decision about the future of the area be left to the tribal people

Islamabad January 18-2016: Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that the return of the internally displaced persons of tribal areas to their homes was critical to the development and mainstreaming of FATA and deplored the government’s neglect of this issue as a crime against the people of tribal areas.

This he said during meeting with the office bearers and workers of PPP FATA chapters in Zarari House Monday morning.

“It is scandalous that the internally displaced persons (IDPs) are still rotting in camps despite tall claims that more than 90 % of the tribal areas have been cleared of the militants and extremists”,Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar quoted the PPP chairman as saying .

Bilawal also called upon the provincial and central chapters, the parliamentarians and senior leadership of the party to expose the
government’s apathy towards the plight of the tribal people and force
it to resettle and rehabilitate the IDPs.

The meeting was also attended by former Prime Minister Raja Pervez ,
PPP FATA coordinator Akhunzada Chatan ex MNA, vice president senator
Sherry Rehman, some former federal and provincial ministers and
political secretary Jamil Soomro.

Farhatullah Babar said that the Monday was the fourth day of meet the
workers meetings of Chairman PPP in Islamabad.

The PPP Chairman called for mainstreaming FATA by giving its
fundamental rights and local self governments in the tribal Agencies.

Bilawal Bhutto deplored that the government had done nothing for
reforms in the tribal areas even though mainstreaming FATA was also a
central plank of the National action Plan (NAP).

Bilawal said that the former President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari had also addressed recently a letter to the Prime Minister on this subject but the letter has not even been acknowledged by the Prime Minister. He called upon the party MPs to pursue the issue of FATA reforms in the national Parliament.

He said that according to the Constitution tribal areas were part of
Pakistan. However, its people were denied basic rights as guaranteed
to the people of other parts of the country as the superior courts had
no jurisdiction in the tribal areas.

This anomaly has been taken note of by the courts and the provincial
Assembly has also passed a unanimous resolution urging the federal
government to extend the jurisdiction of superior courts to the tribal
areas. He asked the government to immediately adopt a private member’s
bill already passed by senate committee.

We must give strategic importance to the people and empower them
instead of stating that the tribal lands were strategic in nature.
Talking of the land only and not of the people reflects a colonial
mindset, he said.

Empowerment is linked to sense of justice and sense of participation
of the people in their own affairs, he said.

Bilawal Bhutto said that a governing structure that is not based on the will of the people cannot resist the militants. Had there been people participation in FATA the area would not have been taken over by others so easily.

He said that political reforms and empowering people in tribal areas
will strengthen and not weaken national security as is often contended
by a section of the powerful establishment.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also called for devising a mechanism for holding elections to local self governments in each Agency in the tribal areas. The mechanism should be based on adult franchise, transparency, and duly empowered local government bodies, he said.

There should be local governments in FATA so that people participate
in and manage their own issues. It is a measure of double standards
that while we demand LGs throughout the country we are not prepared to
hold local polls in the tribal areas, he said.

He also called for separating judicial functions and authorities from
the executive authorities and functions in the tribal areas and said that the local Agency governments should have a say in the formation of tribal Jirgas as alternate dispute resolution mechanism.

He said that the driver for change in FATA has to be driven by the tribal people themselves and it cannot be imposed from outside. The issue of whether FATA should be made a separate province or merged with the KPK should be left to the people of tribal areas themselves, he said.

Bilawal also called for carrying forward in consultation with the
people of tribal areas the FCR reforms process that was started by the
PPP government in 2011.

Former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and vice president senator
Sherry Rehman also addressed the meeting.


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