ISLAMABAD - The joint committee of political parties on FATA reforms has stressed the need for guaranteeing peace in the Tribal Areas and has come up with recommendations for further reforms with a consensus. In a media briefing here the other day, the committee announced the reforms had been unanimously agreed upon following several all-party conferences held between June and November.
The parties – ANP, JI, JUI-F, MQM, NP, PML-N, PML, PPP, PTI and QWP – decided to continue standing together to highlight the importance of mainstreaming and legal reforms for tribal people. They also emphasised the right of FATA citizens to enjoy the same constitutional guarantees and rights as all Pakistanis.
Among other recommendations, the parties agreed 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 Parliament.
The committee was 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 the government, the committee met in November with Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch.
Speaking to party leaders, the SAFRON minister indicated that he planned to share his views and meet with the prime minister, FATA senators and MNAs to give a final shape to the recommendations.
To promote the new reforms, the committee was 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 headoffice of Jamaat-e-Islami in Lahore’s Mansoora area and presented the reform demands with strong support of Jamaat chief Munawar Hasan.
The committee plans to visit Quetta, Karachi and Peshawar in the coming weeks. It also plans to meet with the president, the prime minister and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor to discuss their 11-point reforms agenda.
Regarding the reforms priorities agreed on by the political parties, the FATA committee members expressed their intention to continue efforts and ensure that all the stakeholders were brought on board to ensure enactment and implementation of reforms.