ISLAMABAD - Senate Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions Friday observed that collection of CESS on mines and minerals by political administration FATA is illegal because the CESS Act has not been extended to the area so far.

The committee met here in the chair of Senator Hilal-ur-Rehman also remarked that people already pay tax on mines and minerals to the federal government and double taxation is not justified. The committee asked FATA Secretariat to submit a report within 15 days on the background and current rules applied in FATA regarding CESS collection from mines and minerals.

The meeting was attended among others by Senators Aurangzeb Khan, Khanzada Khan, Muhammad Saleh Shah, Taj Muhammad Afridi, Ahmed Hassan, Sajjad Hussain Turi, Secretary SAFRON, Secretary Law and Order FATA, DG NAB Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Political Agent Mohmand Agency and officials from FATA Secretariat.

The meeting was given a detailed briefing by DG NAB Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regarding ongoing cases in FATA during last two years. The DG NAB also told the meeting that Rs125 million was recovered in the Fata Disaster Management Authority [FDMA] case and out of which Rs83 million has been disbursed to FATA Secretariat.

Political Agent of Mohmand Agency Mehmood Aslam gave  details of income and expenditure of welfare fund of the agency from January 1 to December 31, 2016.

He said total income earned by agency was Rs122 million, expenditure was Rs112 million and closing balance was Rs92 million.

He also told the meeting about all narcotics and criminal cases registered and disposed of in last year. Seven criminal cases out of 18 and one narcotics case out of 13 are pending in the agency. He assured the meeting that the CNIC verification process will be made easier for the people.

The committee recommended that Political Agent of Mohmand Agency should set up verification offices for CNICs and domicile at tehsil level to facilitate the public.  

Talking about the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) cases, he said that from January 1 to December 31, 2016, 51 different cases were registered while 34 were disposed of and 17 cases were pending, adding around Rs4 million were collected from the criminals.

While talking about the overall law and order situation in FATA and implementation of the National Action Plan in FATA, the FATA Secretariat told the meeting that 10 out of 20 points of NAP were relevant to FATA and the area has seen significant improvement in overall crime incidents which have reduced from 982 incidents in 2015 to 478 in 2016 and 309 in first eight months of 2017.

Additional Auditor General gave a briefing on how audit is conducted in FATA and briefly elaborated the three major types of audit being conducted in the area.