Tribesmen seek 1973 Constituion, not FCR

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MutahiDda Qabaili Party (MQP) has appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to extend the constitution of 1973 to FATA in its true letter and spirit and to bring amendments in the Frontier Crimes Regulation 1901 (FCR) ‘jirga system’.
Briefing the media at National Press Club (NPC) on Friday, MQP Chairman Habib Malik Orakzai said that numerous problems were being faced by the people of FATA and they were seeking the attention of CJP as well as the government rulers. He said that FATA was governed by the colonial era FCR which allowed the ‘political agent’, the head of any agency to imprison anyone without trial for an indefinite period of time.
He said that apart from this the FCR allowed violations of almost all fundamental rights guaranteed under the constitution and all the international human rights that Pakistan has committed to give to its citizens under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “The FCR is considered as a draconian and cruel law in not only tribal areas however all over the world and is in dire need of judicial oversight since it violates even the basic principles of the constitution itself and does not allow constitutional rights to extend to the residents of FATA,” he added.
Malik said that the FCR empowers the political agent to detain women and children without the right to bail under collective responsibility which was a clear violation of basic fundamental rights of citizens and also violated Article 10(1) of the constitution which stated, “No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed as soon as may be, of grounds for such arrest, nor shall he be denied the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice.”
FATA, he said, has special constitutional status under Article 246 and 247 of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 and according to Article 247 (2), “FATA is under the direct control of the president of Pakistan who exercises his authority through the governor of a province relating to the whole or any part of tribal area within the Province.”
He highlighted the deprivations of people belonging from FATA, saying that they were not allowed to participate in the democratic process of the country like others as none of the Pakistani political parties were allowed to exist in FATA. The political parties act 2002, he said was not extended to the tribal areas.
Malik said that militancy and terrorism in FATA could not be eradicated through military means. He however demanded the political and judicial reforms in their region to ensure the provision of all basic rights to the people living in FATA.