PESHAWAR - While the jurisdiction of the

regular police force has been

extended to the tribal districts

of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the police still face problems in ensuring their writ

in the erstwhile FATA region

and the government will take

a long time to keep them on

their toes in the region.

Malik Marjan Khan, patron

of FATA Grand Alliance, told

The Nation yesterday that the

policemen even lack uniforms

in the tribal districts, let alone

enabling them to establish

their writ.

“With no police stations and

uniforms, how it is possible

for them to have their write

established in the merged districts,” he added. He said that

the traditional Jirga system is

still in place in the tribal districts.

Also in a tribal district,

South Waziristan, over a hundred students have gathered

in district headquarters Wana,

demanding the initiation of 3G

and 4G Internet services in the

region.

Also, there is a strange situation in South Waziristan as

students have gathered despite the government’s campaign against coronavirus and

enforcement of section-144

to disperse the crowd and ensure social distancing to contain the virus spread.

However, one of the demonstrators, Abdul Qudoos Wazir, told The Nation they were

sitting at a few feet distance

from one another during the

demonstration to ensure social distancing.

Wazir also said that the main

objective of their demonstration is to demand internet facility in the district.

He said there were many

students requiring internet

for online classes as the universities are closed amid the

ongoing lockdown.

When asked that universities in KP have stopped online

classes due to some issues,

Wazir said: “While universities in KP have stopped online

classes, some universities in

Punjab and Islamabad are still

asking students to attend their

online classes, for which we

need Internet,” he added.

He also said: “We talked to

the district administration,

IMRAN MUKHTAR

ISLAMABAD

A major opposition party in

the Senate has called for summoning a virtual session of

the parliament to assume its

oversight role for tackling the

looming health crisis and economic and administrative challenges posed by rising spread of

COVID-19 in the country.

“Parliament’s urgent role of

scrutinizing government, authorizing spending, making

laws and providing leadership

during these testing times can’t

be pushed aside,” parliamentary

leader of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in the Senate Senator

Sherry Rehman said yesterday.

She added that it was the need

of the hour that both houses of

the parliament should adapt

themselves to extraordinary circumstances and ramp up e-tech

capacity to temporarily shift towards a virtual parliament.

“These are very trying times

for the whole country, and parliament is the best platform to

shape unified responses that

address the urgent needs of our

people, while coordinating an

evolving situation across Pakistan.”

The demand from PPP leader for convening the virtual session of the National Assembly

and Senate has come days after

Free and Fair Election Network,

a non-government organization, had called the parliament

and the provincial assemblies

to take the centre stage in order

to forge political consensus and

provide leadership to the executive during COVID-19 crisis.

On March 13, the government

had abruptly prorogued the National Assembly sitting fearing

the gathering of large number

of lawmakers can cause spread

of coronavirus.

Similarly, it has not summoned the Senate since it was

prorogued on March 4 to prevent further spread of the disease in the country.

“There is clearly a huge resource-crunch hitting all sectors as lockdowns stretch on. It

is a national challenge that requires regular messaging and

creation of distancing spaces in

a country with populations living in cramped spaces,” the former opposition leader in the

Senate said adding that everything was done communally in

Pakistan.

She further said that parliament must take the lead in

working on all such issues creatively and transparently, in the

spirit of national unity.

“Many countries in the world

are innovating fast to meet

the needs of their populations

while keeping them safe, and

are creating online parliamentary spaces that can mobilize

democratic tools to re-order

many priorities.”

The PPP lawmaker said that

international aid coming into

Pakistan must be monitored

and placed under parliamentary sight. She urged that meetings of essential standing committees of the parliament

including health, finance, planning, information technology,

interior, law and others must

be convened online to plan for

contingent futures.

Stressing on the importance

of creating fresh protocols for

parliament staff, the lawmaker said that telework facilities

could be organized for the parliament staff as Senate staff runs

at 1,115 people, while 2,200 NA

staff including CDA officials are

posted during sessions.

“Like many parliaments that

are stepping up to the challenge, Pakistan too can address

key issues of security of votes,

online debates as well as committee work which has already

begun in one special committee

made for monitoring COVID-19

responses.”

Senator Rehman appealed

to the Senate chairman and

speaker National Assembly to

take this task into their own

hands as parliaments all over

the world can’t be exempted

from exploring urgent innovations to conduct crucial business. Our task as representatives has become even more

acute in times of crisis and legislators must continue to be answerable and available to the

public, she concluded.

Police writ in tribal dists still a distant dream

but we came to know that the

security forces consider the

4G internet service to be a security risk.”

A senior official of the administration said that despite the enforcement of section-144, the police in the

tribal district were unable to

disperse the crowd and to arrest the violators of the lockdown.

“When the section-144 has

already been enforced and

police chief of the district informed, why the South Waziristan police chief is not arresting those who have come

in shape of a crowd thus becoming a potential risk of

coronavirus?” he questioned.

On the other hand, a senior

police officer form the region

admitted that in South Waziristan, the realities are different from other settled districts.

“We can’t implement a law

in South Waziristan the way

we do it in other settled districts of the province. This is

a new district, we have yet to

set up police stations while

the Khassadar personnel,

who have been merged in the

police force, also lack proper training,” said the officer

while requesting anonymity.

Recently, a Lashkar – a

group formed by the tribals

in order to punish someone

for a wrongdoing – demolished the house of two alleged kidnappers in the kidnapping case of two minor

children in Khyber tribal district.

Khyber’s District Police Officer Dr Iqbal was not available for comment. However, Deputy Commissioner

Khyber tribal district Mahmood Aslam Wazir admitted

that tribal traditions are still

strong in the merged districts

and it will take a long time to

ensure the laws implementation in tribal districts on

the pattern of the settled districts of the province.

“Although we are trying

to ensure appropriate administration, still the area

had Maliks, area subedars,

and collective responsibility system of FCR in the formerly FATA districts for decades; this is not possible

to replace those things and

certain tribal traditions any

time sooner. It will take a

long time,” he added.