Senate body on SAFRON cancels meeting in protest


Protesting against the absence of federal minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) and the government’s direction to the concerned secretary to not to brief the Senate Standing Committee on FATA and PATA Regulations, the committee unanimously canceled its meeting on Monday, Senator Hafiz Rashid said.
“Secretary SAFRON has told the committee that the government had directed him to neither provide copies of the Regulations to the committee nor make any comments on the issue and since the minister was also not present, today’s meeting was cancelled,” he said.
He also informed the media that the committee unanimously decided to cancel the meeting in protest against the minister’s absence and barring of SAFRON secretary from briefing the committee.
Rashid said the committee would write to the prime minister and recommend action against the minister if he did not attend the next meeting on September 7. The committee was scheduled to meet with Senator Rashid in the chair to discuss the two regulations pertaining to Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) and Provincially Administrated Tribal Areas (PATA) which President Asif Ali Zardari had promulgated on June 22.
After media reports and severe criticism by tribal people and human rights organisations, the committee in its meeting on August 8 had asked the concerned ministry to provide copies of both the regulations and brief the members in detail on August 15 (yesterday) about the scope and the powers given to the armed forces. The committee had also asked the minister to ensure his presence in the meeting to answer questions of the members in this regard.
Meanwhile, Professor Ibrahim, member of the committee and senator from Jammat-e-Islami, told Pakistan Today that his party had challenged the FATA and PATA Regulations in the Supreme Court. He said that both the regulations were inhuman and draconian which even the British had not extended to the tribal region.