PESHAWAR - Elders from Federally Administered Tribal Areas rejected amendments in Frontier Crimes Regulations without taking tribesmen into confidence and holding referendum on the future of the tribal belt. Itbar Afridi, a tribal leader, while speaking at a news conference in Peshawar Press Club on Saturday, said Abolition of the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) law was not the problem of the tribal people, rather restoration of the historical, political and constitutional status of tribal areas. Malik Muhammad Hussain, Sahib Shah and Fazlur Rahman were also present on the occasion, besides other tribal elders.

He added that the tribal people neither demanded reforms in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) nor a separate province. Similarly, an independent counsel or merger of Fata into Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) was also not acceptable to the tribesmen, he said. He said the foremost demand of the tribal people was putting in place a working law, as he said in the absence of FCR the political agent was following his own will instead of any law.

Afridi further said if the tribal people were not consulted regarding the future of Fata, it would be considered quite injustice with over ten million people of the tribal belt. The tribal people were being subjected to immense injustices in the name of FCR law, he lamented.

Afridi alleged that people who wanted reforms in Fata were pursuing their own agenda and wanted to serve their political motives and personal interests in the garb of reforms. He also said the federal government nominated Sartaj Aziz-led committee consulted specific people, who agreed to the merger of Fata with KP, which, he said, was against the wishes of majority of the tribal people. 

Afridi also criticised the role of incumbent Governor KP in the Fata Reforms’ Committee. He alleged that the governor wanted to forcibly demolish the existing status of tribal areas.

He urged upon the federal and provincial governments to consult tribal people before taking any important decision about their future, otherwise they would not accept any such decision.

SHERPAO FOR MERGER OF FATA WITH KP: Qaumi Watan Party Chairman Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao has demanded of the government to merge Fata with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) before the general elections of 2018, urging the end of line dividing Pakhtuns between settled and tribal areas.

He stated that uniting Pakhtuns in Pakistan would usher an era of peace and prosperity in the country.

He expressed these views while addressing the inauguration ceremony of two small dams in the Matta area of Charsadda. The chairman clarified that Pakhtun nation have rendered numerous sacrifices and it is time when the federal government realises their sacrifices instead of turning a deaf ear towards their demands. He added that Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is the largest producers of gas and oil in Pakistan.

He said that the Pakhtun region is rich in natural resources, but the federal government, under its malicious design, has taken control over these resources due to which the people of KP have been deprived of any prospects of development.

The federal government is also trying to single out KP from the developmental schemes, associated with the CPEC project, he deplored. He, however, appealed to the Pakhtun nation to unite and start a peaceful struggle demanding their due rights and to unite the people of KP and Fata. The chairman clarified that it is important to provide all the federating units in Pakistan with their due rights in order to ensure a strong federation. He stated that if the federal government limits its developmental agenda to Punjab and ignores the sacrifices of Pakhtun nation, it will have a negative impact on the federation.

He also criticized the federal government regarding the Munda Dam, adding that despite the completion of its feasibility study, the federal government has been delaying its construction program due to which there is shortage of electricity and water for irrigation purposes.

With regard to the construction of two small dams, the chairman directed the Senior Minister for irrigation Sikandar Sherpao to ensure construction of link roads for the locals along with ensuring provision of jobs to the local people.

Sikandar Sherpao said that with the successful completion of two small dams, irrigation will become possible on 3,000 acres of land along with providing access to clean drinking water to over 10,000 people. The minister also stated that a link road will be constructed along with the dams in addition to ensuring provision of jobs to the people of the area. The minister also ensured due compensation to people whose land will be occupied by the construction of the dams.

The minister also directed the authorities concerned to complete a detailed design of the dam within four months time in order to ensure its timely completion.

MPAs Arif Ahmed Zai, Khalid Khan, Sultan Muhammad Khan and Advisor Arshan Khan Umarzai were also present on the occasion.