FCR not to be done away with completely

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ISLAMABAD – The Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) can not be abolished and the FATA reforms package announced by President Asif Ali Zardari included only “certain suitable and agreed” reforms in FATA, President’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar said on Wednesday. “There was no mention of completely abolishing the FCR in the president’s package for FATA reforms, as the political parties and parliamentarians from FATA had not agreed to do away with the FCR completely,” Babar said while speaking on behalf of the Political Parties Joint Committee on FATA Reforms, a formal initiative of nine mainstream political parties for reforms in the Tribal Areas.
The joint committee includes representatives of the PPP, PML-N, PML-Q, ANP, JI, MQM, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), the National Party (NP) and the PPP-Sherpao (PPP-S). The JUI-F is the only mainstream political party that is not included in the nine-party joint committee. Babar said the joint committee, in the light of the unanimous resolution adopted by it on February 24, 2011, calls upon President Zardari to implement the package of reforms which he had announced on August 14, 2009.
“The representatives of the nine parties believe that there is an urgent need for reforms in FATA and call upon the president, who is empowered in the constitution to make laws for FATA, to implement package of reforms that he had announced on August 14, 2009, and extend Political Parties Act to FATA, as it will start political activities in the tribal region, help restore peace in FATA and let its people decide their future. The joint committee also believes that motivation for change in FATA should come from within, not outside,” Babar said.
The president’s spokesman said the joint committee also demanded the president engage people and political parties to reduce the development gap between FATA and the rest of the country. Babar said the reforms package would help end the sense of neglect in FATA and restore peace because it included abolishing some draconian laws.
“The reforms package seeks to rationalise powers of the political agents in the tribal agencies. At present, there is no system of auditing the funds of a political agent who also has the power to order the arrest of a whole tribe if a single tribesman of that particular tribe committed a crime,” Babar said.
Asked how the joint committee could expect the implementation of reforms unless peace was restored in the area, Babar said the issue was debatable, as reforms could help restore peace or peace needed to be established prior to reforms. “But the committee believes that if reforms are implemented, it will help restore peace in the tribal region.”