Extension of courts to FATA not be limited to any specific part
ISLAMABAD: The extension of Courts to FATA should not be limited to any specific part, rather it needs to be extended to the entire area forthwith, by adopting the proposed amendments submitted with the Senate. This was said by Senator Farhatullah in a seminar on: Extending the Courts to FATA, arranged by Shaheed Bhutto Foundation (SBF), here on Thursday at National Press Club, says a Press release.
“We’ve submitted amendments in the Senate on an earlier passed Bill by the National Assembly,” he told to the audience that was attended by parliamentarians, legal experts, civil society activists and selected number of tribal leaders. “The way Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) were integrated with the rest of country way back in 1973, that mode offers very sound legal grounds to follow on the Courts extension to the FATA,” he added.
Senator Babar also raised the issue of taxation in the FATA, where he told to the audience that sitting government very recently admitted on the floor of National Assembly that the system of Rahdari or Permit, had been a great provision of illegal taxation in the entire region of FATA, which should also end in the reform package so that harmonization of its financial system could also be synchronized with the rest of country.
Justice (Retd) Ajmal M Mian, who also headed the FATA Reforms Committee in 2011 during the last PPP government, told to the audience that, the colonial instrument of Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), in actual was an amended and extended form of the Punjab Crimes Regulation (PCR). He credited to the last PPP Govt that, it was able to propose some drastic amendments in the FCR that also remained unimplemented, unfortunately till to date due to some unforeseen political and administrative compulsions.
He welcomed the passage the recent legislation of the extension of court’s writ jurisdictions but emphasized that it should not be selectively implemented and other bottlenecks on its way forward must be addressed before proceeding further.
Seasoned advocate, Lateef Afridi who also hails from the FATA and has been a passionate voice for the integration of FATA, lamented that it has remained with the clutches of Islamabad during last seven decades. “Several areas of FATA, including residential and markets are either demolished or made hell for its inhabitants. This curse of destruction must come to end, he deplored.
He also raised the issue of issue of Shakeel Afridi, booked in the Osma Bin Laden case, on the charges of assisting the foreign agencies, who himself was on the global terror list and at one time, he was the most wanted man in the world. “Once this writ of courts is extended to the FATA, directly or indirectly, persons like Shakil Afridi and other could avail the facility of fair treatment of law and may come out,” he added.
Akhunzada Chittan, former MNA from FATA, also highlighted the issue of Shakeel Afridi and doubted that there was a smell in the air that, he may come out as a free-man. “Therefore, the enactment of Courts in the FATA should not be limited to any particular area, instead it should take place across FATA, so that all inhabitants could avail the provisions of basic human rights, equally,” he added.
Sikandar Ali Hullio, Chief Executive, Shaheed Bhutto Foundation summarized the deliberations of the seminar with a note that, the speakers overall welcomed the extension of courts to the FATA, conditional to the fact, it should be extended to the entire area and demanded on their behalf that, the amendments submitted with the Senate of Pakistan be incorporated before its finalization and enactment, so that the integration of FATA could take place equally and in the lines of constitutional provisions being availed by the rest of Pakistan that gradually may lead to the peace and stability in Pakistan including entire region.