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The Constitutional 30th Amendment and the Tribal Areas Riwaj Acts Bills recently moved by the Federal Government in the National Assembly........

The Constitutional 30th Amendment and the Tribal Areas Riwaj Acts Bills recently moved by the Federal Government in the National Assembly are neither aimed at mainstreaming nor merger of FATA with KP but pitching the people of FATA and KP against each other. The mala fide on the part of the Federal Government can be gauged from the fact that the proposed Amendment Bill has totally ignored Articles 1, 246 and 247 of the Constitution which are the main cause of the whole problem while on the other hand the repeated letters of the Chief Minister KP whose Government is the main stakeholder to the issue, have never been responded to by the very Prime Minister. Article 1, of the constitution defines the territories of Pakistan and its sub article (C) is regarding FATA while Article 246 defines Tribal territories, FATA and PATA, and Article 247 provides for administration of Tribal Territories particularly barring it from the jurisdictions of both the parliament and the superior judiciary. This was disclosed by the Chief Minister KP, Parvez Khattak while briefing a group of parliamentarians in KP House, Islamabad Tuesday evening. Explaining the salient features of the Provincial Government Response to the Federal Cabinet Decision on FATA Reform, the Chief Minister had pointed out in his letter addressed to the very Prime Minister that the Reforms Committee had clearly suggested “the merger of the two regions” and the people of FATA viewed any deviation from these recommendations as “breach of trust”. Therefore, after the passage of the Constitutional Amendment by the Parliament, it should be left to the Provincial Government to decide about the transition and merger. “Moreover there will be early gains, which could be achieved very quickly on a time continuum and these should not wait for five years to effectuate.” The Chief Minister said. Though the proposed amendment provide for the people of FATA to elect MPAs to the KP Assembly but the said MPAs have too been denied any role in the affairs of FATA for the crucial long five years, Pervez Khattak pointed out. The MPAs having no jurisdiction over the areas and the people they are elected from, will naturally create “a far larger chaos”. The KP Government has also stressed the completion of the repatriation of TDPs (temporarily displaced people) before 2018. With regard to the special committee of high level experts and official to prioritize the preparation of a 10-year socio-economic development plan for FATA, the Provincial Government has said that the Chief Secretary, ACS, Planning and Development and Secretaries of the Provincial Government Departments should be included to it while the Chief Minister should jointly preside it over with the Governor. At the moment, it provides for being presided over by the Governor only. A Provincial Government to whom the entire responsibility of a region is being handed over in due course cannot be kept out of the process, which has long-term repercussions for the entire region. With regard to the 3 per cent allocation from the divisible pool on annual basis for the 10 years, the KP government has supported the proposal but stated that members of the NFC absorb the cut of 3 per cent as per the existing distribution formula. While the allocation of PSDP should be increased “in progressive manner at par with the growth in size” rather than capping it at 21 billion. The Provincial Government has also referred to the lack of any contribution to the reconstruction of FATA by the FATA Development Authority and its “turf war with FATA secretariat, the manner of the posting of BS 22 officer there and has asked for further consultation over it. With regard to the Governor‘s Advisory Council comprising all FATA Senator and MNAs “to carry out development and administrative functions” the Chief Minister has asserted that “the underlying premise of integration and mainstreaming is severely weakened if the larger administrative unit to which FATA is being merged is left out of any decision making body let alone an advisory body which helps in running the affairs of FATA.” Rather, it has been proposed that the Provincial Government and its Secretariat be allowed to assist the Governor during the transitional phase, which phase “should be as short as possible”. The Chief Minister has agreed with the proposal of enhancing the approving powers of the FATA Development Committee from Rs.400 million to Rs.2 billion and FDWP from Rs.200 million to Rs.1 billion but after the elections these powers should be reverted to the PDWP (Provincial Development Working Party). The Provincial government has agreed with party based local government elections, the extension of the jurisdiction of auditor general of Pakistan and abolition of permit/rahdari system for exports from and imports into FATA. However, with regard to the promulgation of Riwaj Regulations, the Provincial Government has said that it should be in accordance with the wishes of the people of FATA and without bypassing the parliament. With regard to the jurisdictions of the superior judiciary to FATA, the KP government has proposed that it should be made part of the Riwaj Act of Parliament so that the writ jurisdictions of the superior judiciary are extended their gradually. <><><><><><><><><><>