FATA alliance raises concerns over Riwaj Act time-frame

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PESHAWAR/ GHALANAI: The All Fata Political Parties Alliance has rejected replacing the Frontier Crimes Regulation with Riwaj Act and urged the government to merge FATA with KP before 2018.

Speaking at a press conference at Peshawar Press Club on Saturday, the alliance president, Sardar Khan, said that Riwaj Act had nothing to do with the wishes of the people and it would prove another FCR. As such, the political parties would oppose it, and the alliance would be forced to launch a protest movement.

Flanked by alliance leaders Jahangir Afridi, Iqbal Afridi, Shah Faisal Afridi and others, Sardar Khan demanded the federal government merge Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa before 2018 so that tribal people could elect their representatives to the KP Assembly. He reiterated that they would continue struggle for the constitutional rights of the people of Fata.

Sardar Khan, who is chief of the JI in Fata, opposed the government’s announcement regarding the Riwaj Act saying it would only create confusion among the people.

The alliance leaders asked the government to extend the 1973 Constitution to the region, which was essential for the progress and prosperity of Fata and its residents.

Hinting at taking power away from political agents, he argued that Fata’s status and role of political administration was not clear in the reforms agenda.

Sardar Khan also lamented the lack of development in the region and asked for medical colleges and technical and engineering universities to be established. He also demanded 40 seats for tribal areas in the provincial Assembly. Another prevailing demand was getting a share of the National Finance Commission Award.

The political alliance was also of the opinion that a census should only be held after a comprehensive rehabilitation program for IDPs to ensure the collection of accurate data.

Meanwhile in Ghalanai, Mohmand Agency ANP president Nisar Mohmand had welcomed the proposed reforms saying tribal people would now be able to participate in the KP assembly.

He did, however, also express concerns regarding the timeframe of the reforms, going on to call the Riwaj act discriminatory and that it would be contested in the Supreme Court. He also urged tribesmen to participate in the upcoming census to fully show highlight the ratio of seats they deserve in the provincial assembly.

PPP KP vice-president Akhunzada Chatan on the other-hand has termed the decision eyewash and said that PML-N government was not sincere with the people of Fata. He also criticised the government for the five year timeframe given for implementing the reforms.