Political parties united on new reforms for FATA

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Ten parties represented on the Political Parties Joint Committee on FATA Reforms held a media briefing on Tuesday to present new consensus recommendations for further reforms in the tribal areas, while stressing the importance of guaranteeing peace in FATA.

The reforms were unanimously agreed upon following several all-parties conferences held between June and November and the political parties on the FATA Committee reached the recommendations by consensus. The parties include ANP, JI, JUI-F, MQM, NP, PML-N, PML, PPP, PTI and QWP.

Political parties continue standing together to highlight the urgent importance of mainstreaming and legal reforms for tribal people while also emphasising the right of FATA citizens to enjoy the same constitutional guarantees and rights as all Pakistanis.

Among other recommendations, political parties agree that local bodies’ elections must be held in FATA like in the rest of the country, and that a new amendment should be introduced to change Article 247 of the Constitution to provide equal rights and shift legislative powers for FATA from the president of Pakistan to the parliament.

Party leadership is also united regarding the extension of PEMRA media jurisdiction, a strengthened Jirga system, abolishing the Actions in Aid of Civil Power Regulation, and separation of executive and judicial powers in FATA.

Presenting their recommendations to government, the FATA Committee met in November with Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions Lt Gen (r) Abdul Qadir Baloch.

Speaking to party leaders, the minister indicated that he plans to share his views and meet with the prime minister of Pakistan, FATA senators and MNAs to give a final shape to the recommendations.

To promote the new reforms, the FATA Committee is now undergoing a nationwide tour to visit the leadership of member political parties and hold media briefings in provincial capital cities. Last week, the committee visited the central head office of JI at Mansoora in Lahore and presented the reforms demands with strong support of JI Ameer Syed Munawar Hasan and Liaqat Baloch.

The committee plans to visit Quetta, Karachi and Peshawar in the coming weeks. The FATA Committee also plans to meet the president of Pakistan, the prime minister and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor to discuss their 11-point reforms agenda.

Regarding the reforms priorities agreed on by the political parties, FATA Committee members have expressed their intention to continue outreach efforts and ensure that all stakeholders are brought on board to ensure enactment and implementation of the reforms.