ISLAMABAD - Tribal elders and lawmakers yesterday demanded the government to rehabilitate the displaced people prior to bringing reforms in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). They said the local populace of FATA currently taking refuge in other parts of the country must be sent homes before deciding political and administrative fate of the tribal areas. The tribal elders , retired bureaucrats and MNAs said this at a launch of a book written by Dr Taj Muhammad Khan Wazir, son of former MNA and one of the influential religious clerics in South Waziristan who was killed in a suicide attack that had claimed lives of 26 others in Wana in August 2010.

Maulana Jamaluddin, Member National Assembly who hails from the restive South Waziristan Agency said that the major concern he has shared with the high-powered FATA Reforms Committee is that the displaced people should be first rehabilitated and then the local residents should be consulted on reforms agenda. Supporting the reforms process in FATA, the lawmaker, however, sounded pessimistic about the results of the development arguing that FATA people will not accept any reforms done without consulting the area’s people.

He claimed that the FATA Reforms Committee will neither merge the tribal agencies into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa nor will grant special status to FATA. “The committee so far is not in a position to understand what tribal people demand exactly,” he said. President Muttahida Qabayil Movement Malik Habib Orakzai on the occasion called for the unity among different tribes of FATA, saying the tribal people had a distinct identity that should not be compromised at any cost. “We need reforms. We need education and health facilities. But the government should do it in the presence of area people. We will not accept imported reforms,” he added. Former ambassador Ayaz Wazir said he will continue to raise voice for the betterment of FATA even if it does not go well with the power corridors. He said the biggest flaw in FATA Reforms Committee is that decisions are being made away from FATA.

Referring to Maulana Dr Taj Muhammad, the author, Wazir said that religious scholars have great respect in tribal areas and urged that they should come forward and play their roles in deciding the good fate of FATA. He thanked the author for writing a book that will help readers abroad to understand the peaceful culture of FATA adding that the customs of tribal people were based in mutual co-existence and collective responsibility.
The book titled ‘The Pashtuns of Waziristan and the custom based Waziri law from Sharia perspective’ contradicts findings of renowned authors who have written on Pashtuns of FATA.  The book contradicts the claims that Pashtuns are the lost tribe of Israel and the author has tried to establish that the customs of tribal people are naturally in similarity with Islamic jurisprudence.The event was attended by a significant number of students and tribal elders belonging to South Waziristan Agency with some speakers sounding in favour of the FCR law, arguing not all sections of the century old colonial system were contrary to tribal traditions.