ISLAMABAD   -  The Senate Special Committee on Friday in an in-camera meeting urged a delegation of Waziristan Qaumi Jirga to play its role as a bridge between it and Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) in a bid to get problems of the area resolved.

The committee met with a representative delegation of Waziristan Qaumi Jirga from North and South Waziristan to identify “real” problems of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

A meeting of special committee earlier formed to ‘examine purported grievances amongst some sections of the society and reach out to the genuinely aggrieved persons to create national cohesion’, was held at the Parliament House under the chair of Senator Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif.  The delegation of Waziristan Qaumi Jirga was invited to present their views before the committee.

The delegation comprised Engineer Rehmatullah, Samiullah Dawar, Khalid Ahmed Dawar, Abdul Ghaffar, Abdul Malik, Akbar Ali Khan, and Malik Fakhrul Islam. The jirga has previously held their interactions with different government organisations.

The delegation members said that people of Waziristan had played a huge role in creation and sustainability of Pakistan but they hadn’t received their due share in growth and development, a statement issued by the Senate Secretariat said.

The members further said that deteriorating living standards of the area had resulted in creation of a sense of deprivation among its people. They observed that the jirga does not support any activity that is anti-state and calls for efforts to create a harmonious situation in the area where no individual or group stands against state institutions and state narrative.

The delegation among other proposals of bringing life back to normal and bringing basic necessities of life and work opportunities, proposed extension of jurisdiction of police in erstwhile FATA in post-merger situation to deal with the law and order situation.

The committee had a collective opinion that many issues need negotiations and discussions but the genuine needs like the need of schools, hospitals, opportunities of employment have to be taken up as early as possible because there is no second opinion on these issues.

Members stressed the need for giving the areas more opportunities and development than its due share as it has witnessed unprecedented security situation due to the war on terror. The committee assured the visiting delegation that it will continue raising the voice until their issues are resolved.

Bringing peace, identification of missing persons, improving the mining surroundings, and safe and secure return of internally displaced people (IDPs) were also identified as key goals by the committee. The lawmakers observed that when state takes one step to reach out to its aggrieved citizens to provide them their basic due necessities, those citizens will return the gesture by being amenable instead of rebellious.

The committee assured its cooperation to the delegation and said that bringing life back to normalcy was a collective responsibility. Members recognised the sacrifices of the people of the area and said that all out efforts would be made to give peace a chance to flourish and pave the way for accelerated development.

Senators Sikandar Mandro, Khanzada Khan, Asad Ashraf, Mir Kabir, Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini, Naseebullah Bazai, Dilwar Khan, Aurangzeb Khan, Sitara Ayaz, Sajjad Hussain Turi, Fida Muhammad, and Hidayatullah attended the meeting.