FATA Committee
FATA Reforms Committee (File Photo)

The Prime Minister’s FATA Reforms Committee has submitted its draft to the PM house which has proposed to merge FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Below are the important points from the proposed plan for the fate of FATA.

  • Security is the top priority in the most anticipated FATA reforms.
  • The prime minister’s formed FATA reforms committee has asked government that the best way to mainstream FATA is to merge it with KP.
  • The committee has set up a five years plan.
  • The 51-page report of the committee, submitted to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, says that without reforms, the Army may have to stay in Fata indefinitely, thus affecting strategic military balance on the Eastern front.
  • The report has said that Pakistan army’s withdrawal can create space for militants and undesirable elements in FATA.
  • To sustain the success achieved by military forces in FATA, legal and security reforms are essential for the “build, operationalisation and transfer phases”.

Rehabilitation of the IDP’s

  • The IDP’s should be repatriated by the end of 2016.
  • The reconstruction phase should be done till the end of 2018.
  • Private houses and infrastructure should be left to the owners themselves by giving them cash compensation at prescribed rates.

Socioeconomic development of FATA

  • The unemployment in FATA is very high and there is no private investment due to the security uncertainty.
  • A large portion of public funds are wasted through corruption.
  • Governor KP will prepare a 10-year Development Plan for Fata before the end of 2016, to bring the tribal belt at par with the rest of Pakistan, according to all socioeconomic indicators.
  • Around 20% of the allocation of the 10-year plan should be channeled through local bodies. For this purpose, the National Finance Commission should be asked to allocate 3% of the divisible pool for the implementation of the plan.

FATA Development Council

  • A FATA Development Council may be set up under the governor to exercise oversight on preparation and implementation of the plan. All senators, FATA MNAs, SAFRON secretary, K-P chief secretary, FATA ACS, Chief Executive FATA Development Authority, four technocrats nominated by the governor, FATA Secretariat P&D secretary and COS 11th Corps will be members of this council.
  • The existing FATA Development Council will be renamed the FATA Development Committee and its approving powers will be increased from the present Rs400 million to Rs2 billion and that of FDWP from Rs200 million to Rs1 billion.

Official Posts in FATA

  • All official posts in Fata should be upgraded and brought at par with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The report states that salaries, under the project policy, should be 20% higher than the project policy of K-P.

Students Quota of FATA

  • The quota of Fata students in education and health institutions should be double and retained for 10 years after the merger.

Elected local bodies

  • After the repatriation of IDP’s, party-based local bodies elections can be held in Fata in 2017.
  • This would require the promulgation of a Fata local government regulation, which should be formulated within three months.
  • It was recommended that all other formalities, such as updating electoral rolls, finalising the constituencies, as well as rules and regulations, should be completed before the end of 2016. A separate unit for Fata may be created in the Election Commission office in Peshawar.

Legal Reforms

  • FCR should be renamed the FATA Good Governance Regulation/Act201 and all sections related to collective/vicarious responsibility should omitted, thereby making an individual responsible for his own acts initially in protected areas and gradually the whole of Fata.
  • The jirga system should be retained for both civil and criminal matters, whereby the court will appoint a council of elders to decide factual issues and announce judgments on the basis of Riwaj and the prevailing law in force.
  • The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the high court be extended to the tribal areas by amending Article 247 and other relevant laws, so that those who want to protect their fundamental rights can do so like any other citizen of Pakistan.
  • The committee proposed retaining the jirga system in the civil and criminal Justice system of Fata for the reason that an all-together repeal would be too drastic a step.

Capacity-building of LEAs

  • Reorganisation and revamping of levies for police functions and provision of standard/uniform as well as basic training of the force, along with the provision of in-service and specialised training.

Land settlement

  • An important requirement for the administration of civil laws is proper land and property records in FATA. These are currently available, partly, in two agencies—South Waziristan and North Waziristan. The task of preparing these records should, therefore, be taken up on a priority basis by drawing on the model of computerised records recently adopted in Punjab.

Implementation structure and mechanism

  • Implementation of the ambitious policy and development reforms are a challenging task. One of the major differences between the earlier reforms in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the present set of reforms is that there was no implementation and oversight mechanism.
  • The cause of the failure of such reforms could perhaps be found in the absence of an implementation mechanism, which should be an integral part of any recommendations to reform the tribal belt.
  • This report proposes an implementation structure to ensure that recommendations proposed by the committee are implemented and sustained. This chapter proposes an implementation structure to ensure that all the objectives are successfully achieved.