FATA Faces FATA Voices (86)

FATA parties say Commission proposal for local governance not representative

Although the FATA Reforms Commission proposes partially representative agency councils, political parties and FATA elders reject the recommendation and demand fully democratic elected local government* system in Pakistan’s tribal areas. This article is part of a series analyzing the Commission’s draft proposal.

FATA Faces FATA Voices (86)

Political parties come together in 2014 to demand real reform for FATA

Established by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) governor last year, the FATA Reforms Commission (FRC) submitted its interim report on May 1, 2015 to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat for review. Political party leaders, FATA elders, lawyers and parliamentarians have all expressed dissatisfaction with the Commission’s failure to sufficiently address the fundamental reform issues facing the region, specifically the future status of FATA and amendments to Article 247 of the constitution.

Parties and elders have also expressed discontent with the proposed changes in local governance in FATA, saying that the Commission proposal leaves too much control in the hands of the KP governor and political agents.

Critics also argue that the proposed local system is not truly representative and would fail to give sufficient powers to the people of FATA.

The Political Parties Joint Committee on FATA Reforms (FATA Committee), representing ten mainstream parties, also made recommendations in response to the 2012 draft FATA local government regulation released by the FATA Secretariat. Those recommendations (http://bit.ly/fatalocalbodies) also focused on the draft regulation’s failure to take sufficient power from political agents and place it in the hands of FATA residents as is being done in the four provinces.

Furthermore, a recommendation stating that “local bodies elections should be held in FATA” was included in the FATA Committee’s December 2013 comprehensive 11-point proposal for reform in the tribal areas. ANP, JI, JUI-F, MQM, NP, PML, PML-N, PPP, PTI and QWP are represented on the FATA Committee and have complete support from party leadership.

FRC Proposes Agency and Governor’s Council

The Commission proposal does not recommend the introduction of a complete local government system, citing the lack of an updated population census as the main reason for delaying implementation.

However, as a precursor to the local bodies in FATA and acknowledging that the people of FATA have not been included in the identification of development needs or in the decision making process for development schemes, the Commission recommends agency/FR councils and a governor’s council at the FATA level with partial representation by the people of FATA and governor nominations. The proposed timeframe for agency/FR councils and the governor’s council is for the interim period of two years.

The Commission chairman also cites a need for citizen involvement to ensure transparency and accountability in the use of resources in FATA.

Although not stated explicitly, the Commission proposal implies that a more complete local governance system would be enacted and implemented in FATA after the interim period (in May 2017 if Commission reforms were implemented immediately). At this time, the interim agency/FR councils would be replaced by the new system and the composition of the governor’s council would shift to have 90 percent of council members elected. The remaining 10 percent of governor’s council members would be nominated by the KP governor. Additional details regarding the proposed composition of agency/FR and governor’s councils are included below.

The FRC draft summary does not mention the draft FATA Local Government Regulation produced by the FATA Secretariat in 2012 and does not state if the implied 2017 local government system should be based on the 2012 draft or if it should have an alternative structure. The FATA Committee made detailed recommendations (http://bit.ly/fatalocalbodies) to improve the 2012 draft but did not receive any formal response from government.

Proposed Agency/FR Councils

Proposed agency councils would include between 20 and 25 members and FR councils between 9 and 11 members, based on the population of each administrative unit. Local representatives would be elected based on the existing nikhat system (traditional means of distributing perks and privileges in FATA by the political administration). The Commission proposal summary does not specify if these members would be elected by all residents under universal suffrage or not. Neither does it specify who would be eligible as a candidate for agency/FR council election.

Each agency’s elected members of parliament and four technocrats (including women) nominated by the KP governor would also be members of each council. The respective political agent (for agencies) or deputy commissioner (for FRs) would serve as chairman of each council and the vice chairman would be elected by all council members. Agency/FR councils would serve for the interim period of two years.

Based on the proposed composition, between 81 and 84 percent of agency council members would be elected during the interim period, depending on population and the number of parliamentarians in each agency. Between 64 and 71 percent of FR council members would be elected.

The Commission proposal summary does not clearly indicate what happens to agency/FR councils when the interim period ends two years following implementation. The draft proposal also does not indicate what powers agency/FR councils would hold or what the division of responsibility would be between councils and the political administration.

Media reports indicate, however, that “councils would be the decisive body at the agency level for development schemes”.

Therefore, it is not possible to assess whether or not the partially representative councils would provide any real devolution of powers as envisioned in the Constitution of Pakistan for local bodies in the four provinces.

Political parties and FATA elders have sharply criticized the proposed agency councils, specifically raising concerns regarding the powers of the councils and the fact that political agents would serve as chairpersons of the councils. Furthermore, parties insist that any new local government system should be on the basis of complete adult franchise allowing all FATA residents to vote and that the system permit political party candidates to compete as in FATA elections for National Assembly.

Proposed Governor’s Council

The Commission also recommends a new governor’s council at the FATA level to advise the KP governor, who would serve as the council chairman. Media reports indicate that the council would meet every three months to review development projects, changes in laws and to give advice on important policy decisions. The proposed goal of the council is to strengthen the link between the people of FATA and the state.

The council would not, however, have any legislative or administrative authority, but would only act as an advisory group.

As a result and due to the fact that none of its members would be directly elected, the governor’s council is not a form of representative governance, but only a step in that direction.

The proposed council would represent, however, a small improvement over the current practice of relying only on hand-picked Maliks and elders supportive of the political administration for advising government. The composition of the proposed governor’s council during the two-year interim period would include 12 members:

  • one representative from each agency and a total of two from all FRs combined (the indirectly elected vice chairman of each agency/FR council would fill this member slot during the interim period of two years);
  • five experts from FATA, including two women and one minority (nominated by the KP governor);
  • Federal Secretary of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON);
  • Federal Secretary of Finance;
  • Federal Secretary of Interior;
  • Federal Secretary of Planning, Development and Reform;
  • KP Chief Secretary; and
  • Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) for FATA.

The Commission recommends that after the interim period of two years (in approximately May 2017 if proposed reforms are implemented immediately), the governor’s council composition would shift to become a more representative body and that 90 percent of its members would be elected.

The proposal summary does not indicate the mechanism for election of members or whether or not the council should acquire any legislative or administrative authority following the interim period.

Note: This article is part of a series analyzing the Commission’s draft proposal. Analysis is based on a distributed summary of Commission recommendations and media reports as the complete proposal document has not been distributed publicly for comment. On the date this article was published, the Commission proposal was with the prime minister for his review.

*Click here to read more articles about recommendations for local government in FATA.

Political parties reject FATA Reforms Commission proposals

Parties reject FATA Reforms Commission proposals (video)

Political parties reject FATA Reforms Commission proposals

LANDIKOTAL: Khyber Siyasi Ettehad, a conglomerate of various political and religious parties in the tribal areas, has rejected the proposed recommendations of Fata Reforms Commission and threatened to hold a sit-in outside Parliament House in Islamabad if these recommendations are not reversed forthwith.

The leaders of PPP, PTI, ANP, QWP, JUI-F, JI and National Party along with hundreds of their supporters on Sunday organised a protest rally at the historic Bab-i-Khyber to reject the recommendations put forth by Fata Reforms Commission.

Addressing the protesters, the political leaders said that the wishes and aspirations of people of Fata were totally ignored in those recommendations, meant for bringing changes in the prevailing system of governance in tribal areas.

“These recommendations do not protect and safeguard the basic legal and human rights of the people of Fata nor do these ensure a just administrative and legal system and thus we reject them in totality,” they said.

The protestors were holding placards and banners and chanted slogans like “implementation of old councillor system is unacceptable”, “carry out local bodies election in Fata.” They marched from the Jamrud bazaar to Babe e Khyber where the rally culminated into a public gathering.

The speakers urged the federal government to repeal Article 247 of the Constitution. They demanded provision of constitutional powers to Fata parliamentarians to legislate for their own region.

“At present, Fata legislatures are only spectators to the legislative business in both the houses of the parliament as they can’t suggest any changes in the centuries-old oppressive set of regulations called Frontiers Crimes Regulation, which has been usurping the basic human and constitutional rights of Fata since the creation of Pakistan,” said a speaker.

The leaders of political alliance rejected completely the proposed creation of agency council and governor council, saying those councils were not true representatives of tribal people.

They said that making political agent chairman of the proposed agency council was against the essence of a democratic local government system. Almost all political parties had been demanding curtailing the powers of political administration since long rather than augmenting them in the name of so-called agency councils, they added.

888013-FATARALLYcopy-1431885338-982-640x480“We will never accept creation of such undemocratic councils as the prevailing system had been a major reason of keeping the people of Fata deprived and under-developed,” said another speaker.

He added their struggle was aimed at emancipating Fata from the prevailing inhuman and cruel system of governance in which all administrative, judicial and executive powers were entrusted in the office of political agent.

Over 1,000 people participated in the rally which was addressed by MNA Shahjee Gul Afridi, Akhunzada Chattan of PPP, Zar Noor Afridi of JI, Arbab Tahir of ANP, Maulana Jalil Jan of JUI-F, Asad Afridi of QWP, Mukhtiar Bacha of NP, Taj Mehmud of PML-N, Sahah Jehan of Shbad Milli, as well as Abdurraziq  and Abdur Razziq of PTI.

Click link below to view video

Click here to view the video

MNA Shah Jee Gul spoke about the discrimination with the people of FATA and demanded the government to withdraw the FRC reforms report and recommendations.

He also threaten the government that he will go on strike along with all tribal leaders if FRC’s notification was not withdrawn till the month of Ramadan (starting on 20th of June) and people of FATA were not given equal rights like the citizens of other parts of the country. He said that this the an ultimatum for central government to pay heed to the problems of tribal people.

Authentic and democratic elected local government system demanded

These and and many others categorically rejected the implementation of governor councillor system in the tribal belt, while saying that it is the production of Frontier Crime Regulation (FCR) in which all powers rests with the political administration and sense of deprivation will further deepen in the tribesmen.

Through a unanimously passed resolution, the Khyber Siyasi Ettehad rejected nominated governor and agency councils and demanded local government elections on adult franchise basis.

“We want a local government system, which has complete powers to safeguard the legal rights of the people of Fata at the patrons of the local government system in rest of the country,” the resolution demanded.

5559155619639Extension of political parties act to Fata has smooth legal ways for conducting local bodies’ elections in Fata, they added. The speakers further said, it is injustice to deprive Fata of local bodies and no such decision will be welcomed in the tribal belt. They urged the governor to negotiate with political leaders to hold elections in Fata. The demonstrators vowed not to allow any law to be imposed which goes against their basic rights.

They demanded of the governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to take all political parties on board prior to the imposition of local bodies system in Fata.

Arbab Tahir of the ANP said the present struggle was aimed at emancipating Fata from the prevailing inhuman and cruel system of governance in which all administrative, judicial and executive powers were vested in the office of political agent.

The protesters threatened to stage a sit-in outside Parliament House in Islamabad if their demands were not met.

Source 1: http://www.dawn.com/news/1182675/parties-reject-recommendations-of-fata-reforms-body

Source 2: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-318688-Fata-Reforms-Commission-recommendations-protested

Source 3: http://nation.com.pk/national/18-May-2015/political-parties-demand-lb-polls-in-fata

Source 4: http://tribune.com.pk/story/888013/having-none-of-it-fata-leaders-say-no-to-agency-councils/

Source 5: http://www.dailymashriq.com.pk/index.php?edition=&date=&page=3&type=

Video: https://www.facebook.com/AlhajMediaCell/videos/432147613613169/


Twitter activists start campaign to #DemandFATAReforms and #MainstreamFATA

Update 1: An additional Twitter campaign using the hashtag #MainstreamFATA has also been started and gained lots of participation. Click #MainstreamFATA to see what people are tweeting about FATA reforms and to join the campaign from your own Twitter account.

Update 2: The Express Tribune published an article about the #MainstreamFATA campaign, highlighting that the campaign became a Twitter trending topic in Pakistan for four hours on Monday, May 18.

Over the weekend, FATA activists on Twitter began a campaign to demand reforms and equal rights for Pakistan’s tribal areas. Using the hashtag #DemandFATAReforms, activists called on the government to abolish the 1901 Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), hold local government elections in FATA, amend the Constitution of Pakistan and extend all fundamental rights to FATA.

As of today when this blog was published, the campaign was ongoing and growing. Click #DemandFATAReforms to see what people are tweeting about FATA reforms now and to join the campaign from your own Twitter account.


If you own a smartphone, chances are your morning starts with a side helping of checking notifications and scrolling through Twitter and Facebook. Monday morning, hundreds of tweets flooded timelines as activists, mostly from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, trended #MainstreamFata.

They demanded an end to the ‘special status’ of the tribal areas, that the Constitution, like in the rest of the country, also be applicable in Fata.

This is by no means a novel demand or an issue which only recently cropped up in the news. But, as the use of social media becomes more popular with Pakistanis, people who once found it hard to be heard have latched on with renewed hope. Twitter is the perfect space to toss up a sticky issue and watch the bees converge as it lands. If you tweet it enough times, with the right people following you, you can preach to the choir. And if it is retweeted enough times, there is a slight chance you can trigger a small revolution under the right circumstances.

In this (as yet) free arena for discourse and dissent, a concerted effort by the twitterati of K-P and Fata did not quite land a revolution but caused a stir with hashtag #MainstreamFata Sunday evening.

And so Twitter users demanded the government end the century-old Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), enforced by British colonisers and retained by the Pakistani government after independence. Those tweeting and those retweeting demanded the jurisdiction of the superior courts be extended to all seven quasi districts of the tribal area (the agencies) and six semi-autonomous Frontier Regions.

A senior lecturer, Noreen, who goes by the handle—@NoreenNaseer cited the declining economic conditions of tribes. She tweeted, “Political, social and economic transformation needed in Fata to empower the impoverished.”

Eventually, the hashtag snowballed; members of political parties and Twitter handles which are politically sympathetic to one party or another joined in.

Facts related to Fata were the main focus of the tweets, facts that show how deprived the areas are. How the situation in the tribal heartlands may get worse if the right reforms are not fashioned and implemented quickly. The outrage on Twitter has been steadily brewing, escalating after the FATA Reforms Commission (FRC) submitted its report to President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

A majority of the tweets under the trend are severely critical of the delay on behalf of the government and of portions of the report that suggest including Fata into the “mainstream” would not be possible immediately. The report suggests it will take years to develop the infrastructure required to be the backbone of more social reforms.


Source 1: http://tribune.com.pk/story/888454/mainstreamfata


Source 2: https://twitter.com/hashtag/demandfatareforms

Source 3: https://twitter.com/hashtag/MainstreamFATA

Elders demand action for FATA equal rights

PESHAWAR: Scores of tribal elders from Fata and Balochistan have demanded reforms and the extension of the Constitution to the tribal areas from the federal government, saying the time for seminars to discuss reforms was over and it was time to take action.

The elders, including maliks and politicians, also asked authorities to take immediate steps for the reconstruction of war-affected areas.

A jirga organised by the Pak-Afghan People’s Forum at a local hotel on Saturday called attention to the issues faced by tribal people. The participants urged the government to find a solution on a priority basis.

“There is no more time for seminars and discussions on Fata. Now we will come to the roads to press for our demands and rights,” said PPP leader from Bajaur and former MNA Akhun Zada Chattan. “We only want our areas to be governed under the Constitution of Pakistan as Fata is a part of the country.”

The tribal elders strongly criticised the FCR under which the area has been governed since 1901. They asked authorities to treat tribesmen as equal citizens of the country and recognise their status as nationals.

Chattan said that they will organise a rally to press for reforms in Khyber Agency on Sunday (today).

“Four million tribal people were displaced by the ongoing military operations in the region,” said National Party General Secretary Nazeef Khan. “No steps were taken for the return of these people and rehabilitation of the affected areas.”

Khan said like other parts of the country, there should be at least one medical college in every tribal agency. He added previous governments have done nothing but exploit Fata.

Tribal elders, including maliks from all seven agencies, were invited to highlight the issues of their particular areas. “We should be told of our crime [if any],” said Ghani Gul Mehsud. “We are loyal to this country so why are we governed through draconian British-era laws?”

He added tribespeople had been left at the mercy of corrupt political agents who ruled them under “inhumane laws (FCR)”. The tribal elder demanded that displaced people residing in camps should be rehabilitated immediately and be provided basic facilities in their native areas.

Source: http://tribune.com.pk/story/887585/time-for-action-fata-elders-demand-equal-rights/

Commission and political forces disagree on FATA constitutional reform

The position of the FATA Reforms Commission on constitutional reform stands in sharp contrast to the progressive reform posture of all mainstream political parties and FATA parliamentarians. This article is part of a series analyzing the Commission’s draft proposal.

Following the announcement of the government’s FATA Reforms Commission (FRC) interim report on May 1, 2015, many stakeholders began voicing opposition to the draft proposal. Political party leaders, FATA elders, lawyers and parliamentarians have all expressed dissatisfaction with the Commission’s failure to sufficiently address the fundamental reform issues facing the region, specifically the future status of FATA and amendments to Article 247 of the constitution.

Justifying the limited reach of the draft proposal, Commission chairman Ejaz Qureshi argues that the people of FATA, “Army, political parties and the National Security Council” must take action regarding constitutional reform for the tribal areas and that those recommendations would be outside the scope and power of the Commission.

The Commission does take a position on these issues, however, stating in a summary document distributed to media that “any initiative proposing drastic changes would further destabilize” FATA and should be avoided anytime in the two years following implementation of the proposed reforms. This statement essentially argues that constitutional reform for FATA should not move forward before May 2017.

Legislators, Political Parties and Lawyers United

In opposition to the Commission proposal are the positions of political parties, FATA lawyers and FATA lawmakers. The Political Parties Joint Committee on FATA Reforms (FATA Committee, representing ANP, JI, JUI-F, MQM, NP, PPP, PML, PML-N, PTI and QWP) for example, calls for immediate amendment to Article 247 of the constitution “to guarantee fundamental rights for all tribal citizens and shift legislative power from the President of Pakistan to the parliament”.

Likewise, FATA parliamentarians have stated collectively and on multiple occasions their support for amending Article 247, highlighting the need to provide FATA residents with real representation in parliament and access to the justice system just as in the four provinces.

Currently, Article 247 restricts parliament from making laws for FATA and prevents high courts or the Supreme Court from exercising jurisdiction in FATA. As a result, the people of FATA elect representatives to the National Assembly who are not allowed to legislate for their area, restricting the ability of lawmakers to provide for their constituents and preventing citizens from holding lawmakers accountable.

FATA lawyers have also been actively calling for amendment of Article 247 to extend the jurisdiction of the superior courts and to provide access to an independent justice system for FATA residents. The issues is also currently moving through parliament following introduction of a bill by FATA Committee member and Senator Farhatullah Babar (PPP) and approval by the relevant standing committee.

FRC Proposes Council for Constitutional Reforms

In general, the Commission proposal bypasses the issue of amendment to Article 247 of the constitution and does not specifically address shifting legislative powers or extending superior courts’ jurisdiction to FATA. The FRC does, however, suggest that these fundamental constitutional issues are linked with the future status of FATA and proposes that they should be decided by a new “council for constitutional reforms”.

The proposal states that the new council would visit all agencies and frontier regions (FRs) and consult with FATA residents to establish consensus on all constitutional issues, including whether or not to amend Article 247 and a decision on the future status of FATA. The timeline for the proposed consultation and decision process, however, is not clear as some reports indicate that the Commission proposes the work of the council be concluded in one year while others state that 10 years will be needed. The composition of the proposed council for constitutional reforms would be as follows:

  • Vice chairman* of each new agency council and two members from FR councils (total nine, indirectly elected);
  • Five representatives from FATA parliamentarians (two from Senate and three from National Assembly);
  • Three women and minority representatives; and
  • Other eminent individuals and experts (quantity not specified in proposal summary).

The Will of the People

As the Commission draft does not indicate how many “eminent individuals and experts” would be on the council nor how they would be selected or elected, it is not possible to determine if the proposed council would be truly representative of the people of FATA. The draft summary also fails to specify if members (other than the vice chairmen) would be elected or selected and by what mechanism.

It is important to note that amending the constitution is the sole responsibility of parliament where FATA is already represented. Parliament does not require permission from government, the KP governor or any proposed council prior to proceeding with constitutional reform for FATA.

Future FATA Status

As the political parties’ FATA Committee has previously established, there is currently no consensus on the future status of FATA and it should be the right of the people of FATA to make that decision. Furthermore, FATA residents need to have adequate information and education regarding the potential pros and cons of each status option before making a decision. The Commission agrees with this approach and proposes that the new council for constitutional reforms also make this decision following consultations in all agencies and FRs to establish a consensus position on the desired future FATA status. Status options identified by the Commission are as follows:

  1. Status quo with further amendments to the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR);
  2. Status quo without further amendments to the FCR;
  3. Special status like Gilgit-Baltistan;
  4. Separate province; or
  5. Merger with KP.

Who Represents the People of FATA?

It is clear that the Commission does not agree with the position of political parties, lawmakers and lawyers regarding immediate constitutional reform for FATA. However, the FRC has put forward a proposal that attempts to fulfill the same spirit as its stated goal is to eventually put these decisions more directly in the hands of the people of FATA.

The difference between the Commission and the parties and parliamentarians, however, is that parties have already consulted with local branches and community elders in FATA and parliamentarians are familiar with the desires of the people in FATA who elected them. Political parties and legislative representatives are designed to consult with people at the local level, learn about what citizens want and fight for them on a larger stage.

The Commission proposal does not adequately acknowledge or respect the existing mechanisms of representative democracy in FATA that parliamentarians and political parties embody.

This stance is particularly problematic given the fact that the proposed composition of the new council for constitutional reforms is not very representative (at least as far as one can tell with the details provided). Too many of its members appear to be nominated by the KP governor and the role of elected FATA parliamentarians is reduced in relation to their total membership as only 5 of the 20 FATA members of the National Assembly and Senate would serve on the council proposed by the Commission.

Limited Options for the FRC

Looking at the Commission proposal from a different angle, however, it is clear that it didn’t have many options. Just imagine what the response would be from FATA residents if the Commission announced a firm stance on Article 247 or FATA status. The FRC would have been widely criticized due to the fact that the appointed Commission is not a representative body and therefore should not make decisions for the people of FATA. In addition, parliamentarians would potentially reject such a proposal citing undue influence by the executive in legislative affairs as amendment of the constitution is under the jurisdiction of the National Assembly and Senate. Regarding constitutional reform, therefore, the FRC simply did not have any good options.

It remains to be seen if the FATA Reforms Commission intends to formally ask for comment on their draft proposal from the stakeholders mentioned above and the FATA general public. If they do ask for input, however, many will be ready to respond. To improve the FRC proposal, responses from others would be well served if they are detailed and thorough. While constructive criticism of the Commission proposal may ultimately serve the interests of the people of FATA, reactionary statements based on political opposition could jeopardize the reform process that so many FATA residents and other stakeholders have worked for years to support.

Note: This article is part of a series analyzing the Commission’s draft proposal. Analysis is based on a distributed summary of Commission recommendations and media reports as the complete proposal document has not been distributed publicly for comment. On the date this article was published, the Commission proposal was with the prime minister for his review.

*See the Commission proposal for agency/FR councils for more information on the vice chairman position.

JI again calls on President to abolish FCR

BANNU: Provincial Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Professor Muhammad Ibrahim Khan has said that Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) was a black law for Federal Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and it should be abolished anymore and local bodies elections should be held.

This he said while addressing a joining ceremony in which dozens of tribal leaders of North Waziristan (NWA) announced to join JI.

He said that a local government system is essential for replacement of peace and eradication of terrorism in Fata and solution of the problems of tribespeople on their door step.

Earlier Emir JI North Waziristan Mashal Khan, Naib emir Noorpeyo Khan, GS Asal Jan, Umer Sidique Khan, GS JI Fata Dr. Munsif Khan, President of Al-Khidmat Foundation NWA Rehman Ullah Wazir, Ex-president Mushadullah Khan, Malan Maseeh Gul Naib emir JI Peshawar, Jalal Shah advocate had also delivered their speeches on this occasion.

By Jamal Qamar

Source: http://thefrontierpost.com/article/296984//


Understanding the FATA Reforms Commission draft proposal


On May 1, 2015, the FATA Reforms Commission (FRC) established by the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa delivered its draft proposal for reforms to the governor and subsequently to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for consideration. The Commission also released a summary of the proposal and held a press conference with media to discuss some details.

Following announcement of the draft proposal, FATA parliamentarians, political party leaders, FATA lawyers and tribal elders have all voiced their reactions to the draft. Most of the reactions have been negative, citing that the reform proposals are not extensive enough and that the Commission places too much power with the governor and political agents, among other issues of concern.

While the Commission did consult with FATA stakeholders while developing its draft proposal, most consulted feel that their recommendations for reform in FATA were not adequately addressed by the FATA Reforms Commission. Included among these groups are FATA parliamentarians, the Political Parties Joint Committee on FATA Reforms (FATA Committee) and others.

Below is an outline of the Commission’s draft proposal, prepared for easy reference and to see in one place everything that is included. In addition, a series of articles will be published on the FATA Reforms Website looking at some of the most controversial issues more closely. Links to those articles will be available here as they are available:

  1. Commission and political forces disagree on FATA constitutional reform
  2. Political parties say Commission proposal for local governance not representative
  3. More articles coming soon

It is important to note that all analysis of the Commission’s draft proposal is based only on a summary document provided and media reports. The Commission has not provided a copy of the complete draft proposal to FATA stakeholders or media for their consideration and comment, deciding rather to only share the complete document with the KP governor and the federal government.

Outline of FRC Draft Proposal

Recommendations by the FATA Committee (December 2013) compared with the FATA Reforms Commission Draft Proposal (April 2015)

The FATA Reforms Commission draft proposal addresses seven (64 percent) of the 11 recommendations made by the Political Parties Joint Committee on FATA Reforms (FATA Committee) either completely, near-completely or partially. Three FATA Committee recommendations are addressed in a complete or near-complete manner, while four recommendations are addressed only partially. The Commission fails to address the remaining four FATA Committee recommendations (see details below).

Ten political parties are represented on the FATA Committee: ANP, JI, JUI-F, MQM, NP, PPP, PML, PML-N, PTI and QWP. The outline below lists FATA Committee 11-point recommendations with details about relevant items included in the Commission’s draft proposal below each recommendation.

  1. Peace in FATA should be guaranteed.
    • Strengthen levies force for security
      • Equip and train 500 levies per agency, 200 per frontier region (FR)
      • Recruit officer cadre of retired military and police
      • Create training institute
    • Create coordination cell under FATA law and order secretary
    • Create agency-level intelligence and security committees
    • Add, equip and train 18 frontier corps (FC) wings for border security
    • Establish light infantry as job opportunity for young people
    • Limit role of Army to borders after end of military operations
  1. Article 247 of the constitution should be amended to guarantee fundamental rights for all tribal citizens and shift legislative power from the President of Pakistan to the parliament.
    • Establish new council for constitutional reforms
      • Consult FATA residents in all agencies/FRs
      • Develop consensus positions based on will of FATA residents
  1. Local bodies elections should be held in FATA.
    • Establish agency/FR councils for two-year period (partially elected) to decide on development schemes
    • Implement complete local government system in two years (implied)
    • Establish governor’s council (majority selected) to advise governor and strengthen link between FATA residents and the state
      • Transition to 90 percent elected after two years
  1. A comprehensive package should be developed for FATA and infrastructure development initiated, with special focus on health, education and employment.
    • Quick impact projects (QIPs) initiated within six months
      • Establishment of a FATA university;
      • Establishment of a FATA industrial estate (economic opportunity zone);
      • Construct warehouses to facilitate trade;
      • Enact a subsidy for wheat production;
      • Tax exemption on basic consumer items;
      • Subsidized small loans (at a mark-up rate of four percent);
      • Provide agriculture bank-based credit;
      • Enhance government employment quota for FATA residents; and
      • Conduct a proper population census (with Army assistance).
    • Medium- and long-term development
      • Reinvigorate subsistence farming
      • Reinvigorate non-agricultural commercial and trade activities
      • Reconstruct local markets and public infrastructure to create employment opportunities, particularly for young people
      • Create additional human and skill development opportunities for young people
      • Provide accessible credit and other financial services for small businesses
      • Enhance government social protection schemes for the poor, focusing on women
  1. The future status of FATA should be decided by its people.
    • Establish new council for constitutional reforms
      • Consult FATA residents in all agencies/FRs
      • Establish consensus FATA status based on the will of the people
  1. Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) jurisdiction should be extended and media should be provided greater access to FATA to provide tribal citizens with opportunities for media interaction and participation.
    • Not addressed by Commission proposal
  1. The Jirga system should be made more democratic and independent.
    • Not addressed by Commission proposal
  1. Actions in Aid of Civil Power Regulation should be abolished.
    • Not addressed by Commission proposal
  1. Executive and judicial powers should be separated in FATA.
    • Increase agency/FR-level judicial independence
      • Create additional political agent (judicial) in each agency for three years
      • Independent judicial hierarchy after three years headed by executive officers
    • Increase FATA Tribunal independence
      • Expand membership from three to four, including retired high court judge as head and one member of FATA civil society
      • Shift selection of members from governor to governor-appointed scrutiny committee
      • Allow FATA residents to appeal directly to FATA Tribunal
      • Establish two FATA Tribunal benches for north and south respectively
      • Reduce timeframe for announcing decisions to 60 days for criminal cases and 90 days for civil cases
  1. Citizens should not be deprived of property; inheritance law should be extended.
    • Not addressed by Commission proposal
  1. Civil armed forces (khasadar and levies) should be strengthened and professionalized.
    • Addressed by Commission proposal: see recommendation 1 above

FRC Proposals Not Included in 2013 FATA Committee 11-point Recommendations

  • FATA Administration Accountability and Efficiency
    • Merge departments working in similar areas
    • Consolidate FATA Development Authority
    • Increase transparency and accountability of FATA Secretariat
  • Temporarily Dislocated Persons (TDPs)
    • Restructure the FATA Disaster Management Authority (FDMA)
      • Establish a committee to make recommendations on restructuring in six months
    • FATA Secretariat to develop a comprehensive plan for TDP rehabilitation
      • FATA Secretariat to conduct assessment of reconstruction needs
      • Government provide funds required to implement plan and assessment
    • Government immediately to provide Rs. 50,000 per family for housing

This article is part of a series analyzing the Commission’s draft proposal.


Parliamentarians demand genuine FATA reform


PESHAWAR: Fata parliamentarians on Tuesday broke silence on the core issues of their region and called for ‘genuine’ reforms there.

Accompanied by five MNAs and Senators at a news conference here, Ghazi Gulab Jamal, who is parliamentary leader in the National Assembly, rejected the recent report of Fata Reforms Commission (FRC) formed by Governor Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan.

“Interestingly, Fata parliamentarians can legislate for the entire country except for people whom they represent,” he said.

Jamal said the government shouldn’t deceive tribal people anymore through cosmetic measures and go for drastic reforms across the region.

“We want amendment to Article 247, establishment of a high court for Fata or separate Peshawar High Court bench for Fata, elected Agency Council and a powerful Fata Council to legislate for their people,” he said.

Summary of FATA Parliamentarians’ Demands

  1. Establishment of High Court for FATA (or separate FATA bench in Peshawar High Court)
  2. Amendment of Article 247 of the Constitution of Pakistan
  3. Elected Agency Council
  4. Elected FATA Council (FATA MNAs and Senators serve as council until its election)
  5. Provided elected FATA Council power to decide planning and development priorities and projects, and legislate for FATA (except law and order, and executive matters)
  6. FATA Secretariat and all political administration officials should have propoer knowledge of FATA (non-locals in administration responsible for corruption)
  7. Immediately return displaced people to FATA and rebuild infrastructure

Lawyers and Lawmakers Join Hands

The Fata Lawyers Forum office-bearers, who are running campaign for amendments to Article 247 of the Constitution, were also present on the occasion.

Jamal said his 13 colleagues failed to attend the news conference due to some engagements.

Criticising the FRC report, he said Fata parliamentarians were invited twice by the commission for briefing, but their proposals had not been incorporated in the document which was unveiled on April 30.

“We appreciate Governor Sardar Mahtab for taking interest to reform the existing system in Fata, but our recommendations had not been included in the FRC’s report,” he said, adding that only elected representatives can recommend genuine reforms.

The Fata MNA complained that the FRC report’s copy had not been provided to the tribal region’s parliamentarians.

He said four of the five FRC members were outsiders, who did not know anything about the tribal region.

Jamal said the Ministry of State and Frontier Region had organised two-day consultative conference about Fata reforms in which local parliamentarians were also invited.

He said he was hopeful that the lawmakers’ suggestions would be incorporated in the report.

The MNA said the establishment had been governing Fata for the last 67 years and that bureaucracy made all decisions including planning and development though the area was the most underdeveloped part of the country.

“A chance should be given to elected representatives to plan development programmes in the area,” he said.

Jamal rejected the FRC recommendation that respective political agent serve as chairman of the proposed Agency Council.

He also rejected proposed Governor Council for Fata and demanded constitution of Fata Council.

The MNA proposed that initially MNAs and Senators serve as members of the Fata Council until the election of its members.

“The proposed Fata Council should be empowered to approve annual development programme and other development projects for the area,” he said.

Jamal said on the pattern of Gilgit-Baltistan, Fata Council should look after planning and development besides making legislation for the area except on matter relating to law and order and executive.

He said there should be an elected Agency Council and that elected members should be its chairman and vice chairman.

The MNA said officers serving at Civil Secretariat Fata and in tribal agencies should have proper knowledge of values, customs and traditions of the tribal society.

Senator Hidayatullah, who belongs to Bajaur Agency, said non-elected people had been given the task of making serious decision about Fata future, which was unfair.

He said FRC members were not familiar with the Fata system and customs and that an elected powerful Fata Council should be made.

The senator said key bodies meant for Fata, including the Fata tribunal, should be manned by the people of tribal areas, who were well versed with local customs and traditions.

MNA Haji Gul Afridi said the incidence of corruption had increased manifold in tribal areas as non-locals had been assigned important duties there.

MNA Nasir Khan Afridi and Senators Momin Khan and Taj Mohammad also attended the news conference.

The Fata Lawyers Forum leaders, including Ijaz Mohmand, Taj Mahal Afridi and Zahir Shah Safi, hailed the stand adopted by tribal parliamentarian and said they would support them for raising voice for the tribal people.

FATA Lawmakers Cry Foul

A group of lawmakers and senators from tribal areas have rejected the draft presented by the FATA Reforms Commission (FRC) about the proposed management of agency and Fata councils.

Under the proposed reforms, the political agent will be made the chairman of the agency council while the governor will be made the head of the Fata Council.

During the conference, Jamal urged the government to immediately repatriate displaced person from Fata to their homes. “The infrastructure destroyed during military offensives should be rebuilt and peace should be restored in the region,” he added.

According to Jamal, these sectors have been managed by the bureaucracy for over 60 years and the government should gradually allow elected representatives to seize the reins.

“The government should make elected representatives from Fata manage these sectors for at least a year and assess their performance,” he said.

Fighting for rights

[Instead of the proposed governor’s council,] “elected parliamentarians from the tribal belt should be appointed as members of the [FATA] council,” he said. “The council must be established within a specific timeframe.”

According to Hidayatullah, they will need the support of all parliamentarians to guarantee the rights of Fata’s people.

“We need to fight for our rights,” he said. “We need education for our children and prove to the world that we are not terrorists.”

Affront to the people

MNA Haji Shaji Gul Afridi, Senator Taj Mohammad Afridi and FATA Lawyers Forum president Ijaz Mohmand billed the proposed reforms as an affront to the people of Fata.

They maintained the political agent should not play a role in appointing members for agency council and elected representatives should be made members of the council.

Furthermore, lawmakers also urged the government to conduct a census in Fata. However, they insisted the government should send only those officials to collect data who are familiar with the tribespeople’s culture.

FATA Members of Parliament Demand Article 247 Amendment

FATA parliamentarians has called for amendment in the Article 247 of the Constitution of Pakistan to go forward towards democracy in FATA and guarantee equal treatment to the people of the tribal area.

The FATA parliamentarians said that such amendment is required majority support and for this purpose they are in contact with all political parties to meet the required support for this purpose.

They were critical of the proposed Governor Advisory Council and the demanded the formation of FATA council as soon as possible and nomination of elected public representatives as its members.

They also proposed to grant equal rights to all members of the FATA council and empowering it to prepare annual development plan (ADP) for the region. They said that number of the members of the council could be increased in next election and they should be elected by the people directly.

Similarly, they also expressed reservations over the formation of the Political Agent (PA) headed Agency Councils and nomination of other members by him and proposed that chairman of such body should be an elected public representative.

They also demanded allocation and increase in quota for FATA students in all educational institutions of the country and granting special scholarship to their students and imparting of technical training to the unemployed tribal youth and preference to FATA students in foreign scholarship programs.

FATA Lawmakers Demand Inclusion of their Recommendations in Reforms Package


The elected parliamentarians from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have demanded that they should also be taken into confidence over reforms in the tribal areas and efforts for abolishing Article 247 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

They said they will launch protest if reforms were introduced in FATA without taking the local lawmakers and population into confidence.

“First of all we demand legalisation of income of FATA. The next major issue is about development schemes. No one knows who has the powers for development schemes in FATA. Governor is the only executive, but the reforms committee has not specified it clearly that who will have powers regarding uplift projects. We will oppose all the encroachments of FCR,” a FATA lawmaker said.

Source 1: http://www.dawn.com/news/1181681/mps-demand-genuine-reforms-in-fata

Source 2: http://tribune.com.pk/story/885257/empower-not-control-lawmakers-from-fata-cry-foul-over-proposed-reforms/

Source 3: http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=263874

Source 4: http://radiotnn.com/?p=17227