ISLAMABAD: The tribal leaders have criticized the federal cabinet’s decision to delay approval of the reforms in the tribal regions.
The long-awaited report of the Committee on FATA Reforms 2016 was on the top of the 23-point agenda of the cabinet held with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the chair on Thursday.
Maulana Fazal ur Rehman’s JUI-F and Mehmood Khan Achakzai’s PKMAP pressed for the delay to accommodate views of their tribal leaders, according to Abdul Qadir Baloch, Minister for State and Frontier Regions, which also deals with the tribal areas.
The Prime Minister wanted to take all on-board and that we will also listen to the views of the two parties, Baloch had told a news conference after the meeting on Friday.
The National Assembly had already approved the report that was prepared by a gov’t committee after months of consultation process that also included visited to the tribal regions.
Tribal leaders regretted the cabinet’s failure to approve the report despite the fact that it was on the top of the agenda and widespread support for it.
“Majority in the tribal regions wants early implementation of the reforms but we do not know as to why they are being delayed,” Nisar Momand, head of the FATA ‘Siyasi Ettahad’ (Political Alliance) said.
“I think Maulana Fazal ur Rahan and Mehmood Khan Achakzai have adopted anti-Pashtoon and anti-tribal policies,” Momand said when his reaction was sought on the cabinet decision to delay the report’s approval.
He said the Wednesday’s resolution by the Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa assembly in favour of FATA merger with the province was a clear message that the people want the merger.
“The people of KP and FATA want was to unite and their opinion should be respected,” he said.
Shaukat Aziz, president of the FATA Students Organization, also criticized delay in the approval of the report and said it would raise concerns among the people that certain elements could create obstacles for the reforms.
“We have serious reservations over the reforms delay. We have problems in FATA and also in the country. If the reforms are delayed on various excuses, those who are opposed to reforms, could try to sabotage the move,” said Aziz, who was freed on Wednesday after protest by the tribal students and political leaders.
On Wednesday, the KP Assembly adopted a resolution in favour of merging the FATA into Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa.
The resolution, moved by PTI lawmaker Dr Haider Ali, was adopted by a majority vote. NNI