Fata reforms : Senate warns govt against bypassing parliament
ISLAMABAD: The Senate has criticised the federal government for bypassing parliament and not taking it into confidence on vital issues including the much-touted reforms in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
“If the executive wants to ramrod and overrun parliament, then the parliament will resist. The attitude of the government to bypass the parliament is not appropriate,” said Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani on Tuesday.
Rabbani made this observation after Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Abdul Qadir Baloch told the Senate that the government had formed a committee on the repatriation, resettlement and reconstruction of the people of Fata, which had made seven visits in different agencies.
Responding to a calling attention notice, Baloch said the committee was chaired by Adviser to PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and included Safron minister, Minister for Law Zahid Hamid and Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security Affairs Lt Gen (retd) Nasser Janjua.
“The committee has convened two types of jirgas – one with the tribal elders and the other with journalists, ulema, youth and people from other walks of life.
“It has also held a meeting of the frontier regions at the Governor House in Peshawar and has had consultations with both retired and serving civil and military personnel as well as Fata parliamentarians,” he added.
Baloch said while the elders want to settle according to their traditions and customs, the youth is in favour of merging Fata with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
“The deliberations of the committee are almost complete and we will present them to the PM after which they will go into the cabinet. The government will take a decision regarding the implementation of the reforms in less than a year, perhaps in three or four months,” he added.
Senate Chairman Rabbani acknowledged that the government had a right to form a committee and deliberate over the matter. However, he noted that the government had completely ignored the Senate Committee of the Whole in the Implementation process.
To clear his position, the Safron minister said, “As far as Committee of the Whole of The Senate is concerned, we will never disregard their recommendations. We are in the process of taking recommendations. The final condition will be brought before parliament for their approval.”
However, the Senate chairman was not satisfied with this response. “The parliament thanks the executive for its charity,” Rabbani shot back.
After the chairman had disposed of the matter, Senator Hasil Bizenjo voiced fear that in case of differences between Maliks and the people of Fata, the call of Maliks would prevail. He said an all- parties conference was expected to meet next week to discuss the matter.
Parliamentarians from the K-P, Fata and Balochistan criticised the government for ‘lackadaisical’ allocations for basic facilities like health and education in their respective areas. They also highlighted the disparity between the allocations for the urban centres and smaller areas.
Senator Hidayatullah Khan said the allocation of Rs100 billion for temporarily-displaced persons is extremely insufficient and demanded that it be doubled. He also lamented over the lack of schools, road networks and hospitals in Fata.