ISLAMABAD: Differences have emerged among politicians advocating for reforms in the colonial-era Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) in tribal parts of the country, amid accusations that foreign funded money was being used for abolishing tribal culture.
Ten 10 political parties under Fata Reforms have been demanding extension of law of the land to tribal parts of the country and calling for abolition of the century old ‘draconian’ FCR but some lawmakers on Wednesday came into open to oppose complete abolition of the tribal laws.
“We agree that some clauses of FCR should be amended, including those granting limitless powers to Political Agents, but we are against the complete elimination of FCR. Some Islamabad-based people want to deprive tribal people of their old culture,” Senator Saleh Shah, who belongs to South Waziristan, told The Nation Wednesday. He argued FCR itself was not bad law rather some sections were despicable that needed amendments but not the whole law. “We tribal people have a distinct culture from the rest of the world because of FCR and we are not prepared to do away with our norms,” he added.
While the Fata Reforms Committee call for extending judicial system prevailing in the country to tribal parts of the country, lawmakers from Fata oppose the move arguing that jirga system was the most effective system to settle dispute than judiciary in terms of speedy dispensation of justice.
“Some foreign-funded forums in the country want to replace jirga system with judicial law. They want militancy-hit tribal people to pay to lawyers and other officials in the costly judicial system. We believe that jirga is the best form for settling disputes,” the senator maintained.
Shah argued some elements started campaigning for abolishing FCR after Dr Shakil Afridi was found to have run fake immunisation drive and was imprisoned under tribal laws, adding that before 9/11, the FCR was deemed as perfect law for tribal areas.
MNA Shah Ji Gul Afridi representing Khyber Agency told this reporter that lawmakers from Fata would soon gather for preparing recommendations for amendments in FCR adding that representatives from tribal areas only could come up with desired recommendations.
However, PML-Q’s Ajmal Khan Wazir, who had recently held meeting with former president Asif Zardari for garnering support, said reforms committee included members of JUI-F regretting that how could Senator Shah differ with the modifications in FCR when he himself was member of the same political party. In an apparent reply to Senator Saleh Shah’s allegations about foreign money being used for abolitions of FCR, Mr Wazir said that Fata reforms committee included members of JUI-F including Maulana Afttaur Rehman, brother of JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman. However, Senator Shah said that he was not against amendments in some clauses of FCR but was strongly opposed to complete abolition of it, as he pointed out that due to existing law number of rape cases, theft and other crimes was nominal in Fata as compared to rest of the country.–INAMULLAH KHATTAK