Islamabad - Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and a number of sitting MPs from the Fata, the KP and Balochistan representing various parties are seeking role of the parliament in the implementation of reforms approved for the Fata mainstreaming.

According to them the president should not sign these regulations merely on the advice of the bureaucracy alone without it being discussed in the parliament.

The move comes in the wake of concerns among these political players that reforms recently approved by the federal cabinet for mainstreaming the Fata could be a disastrous step backward if it turns out that the Riwaj Act was even more regressive and anti-human rights than the notorious FCR.

The secretary general of the PPP (Parliamentarians) Senator Farhatullah Babar, while raising concerns said that the parliament should be taken on board about the implementation of the proposed reforms in the Fata.

While commenting on the reforms, Babar said that keeping the Riwaj Act and the LB law secret from the public and the parliament raised serious questions about the law replacing the notorious FCR in tribal areas as promised in the reforms package.

He questioned as  to how the local bodies governments would be set up in tribal areas, the powers and responsibilities of those bodies and the mode of elections, and whether those would be held in all agencies simultaneously or in a phased manner.

Babar also demanded to know how the government proposed to extend the jurisdiction of superior courts to the Fata as promised in the reforms package and the timeline for it.

The silence of the government on these issues is deafening and gives rise to doubts that the reforms package is more of a publicity stunt rather than a serious effort to mainstream the tribal areas.

He demanded that the proposed Riwaj Act and the regulation to set up local bodies in the tribal areas in the recently announced reforms package be placed before the parliament for discussion, before the president signed any regulation in this regard.

The proposed reforms envisage a set of measures government has approved to bring the Fata at par with the remaining parts of the country.

Among the major steps include merger of the Fata with the KP over a period of five years in addition to the steps proposed to replace the notorious Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) with the Riwaj Act.

Likewise, the reforms include granting right to appeal to the residents of the Fata as well as introduction of political reforms by giving right to vote to the people of the Fata to elect their representatives for local governments and the parliament through direct elections.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 20-Mar-2017 here.