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Friday, 14 August 2009

14 August 2009: Pakistan celebrates its indepdence day

The PPP Government's Gift to the Nation: Far-reaching Fata reforms unveiled
By Syed Irfan Raza
Friday, 14 Aug, 2009

After amendments to the law, the powers of arbitrary arrest and detention without the right to bail have been curtailed. - APP/File photo

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari announced on Thursday political, judicial and administrative reforms for the tribal areas, allowing political activities in Fata, setting up an appellate tribunal, curtailing arbitrary powers of political agents, giving people right to appeal and bail, excluding women and children from the territorial responsibility clause and envisaging audit of accounts by the auditor general.

Addressing a ceremony held in the Presidency to mark the 62nd Independence Day, the president announced the reforms package that had been worked out in consultation with all stakeholders and approved a day earlier in a meeting. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani attended the meeting.

‘President Asif Ali Zardari tonight announced major legal and political reforms in the tribal areas to extricate them from a century of bondage and subservience and usher them into the mainstream of national life, describing it as a gift to the nation and the tribal people on the nation’s 62nd Independence Day,’ said presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar.

He said the reforms envisaged extension of the Political Parties Order of 2002 to the tribal areas and changes in the century-old anachronistic Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) to make it responsive to human rights.

After amendments to the law approved on Wednesday, the powers of arbitrary arrest and detention without the right to bail had been curtailed, he said.

‘The FCR was a draconian law under which there was no provision of appeal, wakeel or daleel (lawyer or reasoning) against the orders of the executive,’ the spokesman said.

The tribesmen were subject to the whims of administration officials as people were arrested and kept in jail for years without trial under the FCR, he said. A person could be sent to jail for three years without trial. The jail term could be extended indefinitely.

Under the territorial responsibility clause, women and children were being jailed.

The administration will have no arbitrary powers of arrest as checks have been placed on them. The accused shall be brought before the authority concerned within 24 hours of arrest. They will have the right to bail.

Women and children below 16 years of age shall not be arrested under the Collective Responsibility Clause of the FCR.

The changes lay down a time limit for disposal of cases.

The spokesman said a major initiative was in the field of judicial reform.

The package envisages setting up the Fata Tribunal with powers similar to those of the high courts. The tribunal shall have powers of revision of orders and judgments of the appellate authority.

The spokesman said the funds received and disbursed by political agents would be audited by the Auditor General of Pakistan.

In his address, President Zardari said Pakistan was created through a democratic struggle and it would be made strong and prosperous through democracy.

‘As we celebrate we should also pause and reflect whether and where we are going. Unfortunately, over the years as democracy was trampled, an extremist mindset was allowed to grow. I don’t want to go into who nurtured the militants and how they were aided. It is all too well known.’

The militants, he said, posed the greatest threat to the country as they were out to destroy the very fabric of society. ‘They want to impose their political and ideological agenda on the people of Pakistan through force and coercion. They reject the state, the Constitution, democracy and, indeed, our very way of life,’ he said.

He said the government had tried negotiations but the move was rejected. ‘Now they are on the run. The nation stands united and all parties and parliament have rejected militants and militancy. Our valiant defence forces stood up against this new and great threat to the country,’ he said and thanked parties, parliament, the people and the forces.

The president congratulated the nation and said that millions who had fled their homes in Swat and Malakand had started returning home. ‘But a bigger challenge awaits us. In the long run we must defeat the militant mindset to defend our country, our democracy, our institutions and our way of life.’

Praising the people of tribal areas, the president said they were being governed by a hundred-year-old obsolete system of administration that did not allow their creative potential to come into full play.

He said the law had been changed in accordance with the aspirations of the people and democratic principles. (www.dawn.com)

Alamgir and Benjamin Sisters (Khayal Rakhna)


Anonymous said...

I read a discussion at another blog in which some bloggers thus offer their assessment of PPP and Zardari:

romano said:
Although not a PPP fan at all, but totally disagree. Theories after theories with no understanding of realities, will ultimately prove to be the biggest lost for this nation. The society I believe has been divided right now between idealism and pragmatism. Idealism, where one seeks the ultimate perfect system, which in reality God says has never existed and can never exist till the day man is resurected. Pragmatism, a conjucture used in different contexts, is mainly the understanding of the world and setting your foot accordingly.

Aitezaz is no leader at all. Just a couple of good days, and suddenly people start to draw conclusions. The PPP, which has been always cited in much the same manner as we see today, has always run out of this fuss. Right when Bhutto was hanged, when BB took the party over, when PPP lost the 97 elections, when she was not allowed back, and even today; on all the occasions the slogan was the same, the PPP has died for ever. It never happened, and I believe it never can.

The partyhas always provided a new face and thus faced criticism for that. Its the same story today. After severl years 4m now, the people who will blog in after me and abuse me, will actually acknowledge what the party is doing today. I have been a big opponent of the party since long, but I have always been wrong.

Zardari though not popular at all, rather notorious, has unfortunately done well. The impact cant be seen today. Contrary to what I expected he took a clear stand on the Taliban, a stand I believe no one could have taken.

Having said that, I must agree the party is struggling and trying to find ground, but by no means is Aitezaz ever a leader in PPP. Rather having fought in political scuffles with the PPP jiyalas, who later became friends, they all hate him. It is strange party, but destiny has favoured them time and over again. So let us not draw conclusions early on.

Please feel free to ridicule, abuse and whatever. You know its the reality, whatever I have said.

atruepakistani said:
@romano.Good analysis. We must see PPP in different way.We can say there are two PPPs.one of the elite class who see the party to get power and the other is the party of the poor.who see party as revolutionary party(wheather it is or not).party of ZA bhutto is still alive in the hearts and minds of working class ppl.This is the real power of PPP.People remember Bhutto as Hero and heros never dies. Regading Aitzaz Ahsen,,he can win the trust of the ppl if he start talking in favour of the poors and party workers. People of Pakistan see PPP to solve their roblems..others who hate PPP they are mostly biased.Indeed in this situation PPP showed a good charecter of understanding.Taliban Issuse,,economy,friends of pakistan,,Benazir income support,,and many other issues was tackled with great potential.We hope with all their short comings they will do good fpr pakistan

democrate said:
@romano,u did better analysis than biased aamir ghauri.pakistan is heading towards two party system,ppp and muslim league N.some people has devolped so much hate for ppp,they can accept brocken pakistan but they will never accept ppp in power.the ppp hatters are really danger to pakistan bc ppp will keep winning elections and these people will keep removing ppp illegally ,in the process keep damging pakistan.


Shami said...

FATA reform at last

No sane person would disagree with President Asif Zardari’s reforms in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). He has allowed (1) political parties to function legally in the region; (2) set up an appellate tribunal; (3) curtailed the arbitrary powers of the political agent; (4) given people the right to appeal and right to bail; (5) excluded women and children from the territorial responsibility clause in cases of recompense; (6) and has proposed an audit of the funds used in the region under the auditor general.

The “tribal museum” on the north-western border of Pakistan is no longer viable. In strategic terms, it is no security glacis either. If we took non-state actors from here we no longer need them as we have more of them in Punjab. It is no longer the wild no man’s land serving as a buffer between us and other states. It is in fact a “strategic depth” available to states that wish us ill and want to send in money and warriors to destabilise Pakistan.

Above all, it is the right to live normally of the common man that we must protect through extending to him the law that obtains in the rest of the country. We must give up the policy of “leaving the tribesmen alone” and move forward with an aggressive resolve to provide education, communication and health facilities to the 3.2 million people living in FATA. Given the small population, it will take very little expenditure to turn the region around. The infrastructure we build there — a big financial and physical challenge — will be our investment in national defence.


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