AT Monitoring DesKABUL: A group of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) elders have filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan to challenge merger of tribal belt into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The petition has been filed by five tribal elders belonging to the various parts of FATA agencies, questioning the Prime Minister’s constitutional authority to take any decision regarding fate of FATA and claimed that the recommendations of the six-member committee, headed by Sartaj Aziz are “illegal and unconstitutional.”
The petition argued that under Article 247 (6) of the existing constitution of Pakistan, Prime Minster, Parliament or any other institution has no authority to take any decision regarding the Tribal Areas with the exception of President and his representative, the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The petition words further say that the government’s claim that the majority of FATA people support the plan of FATA’s merger is absolutely false and are mere “eyewash”, adding that the 247 (6) of the Pakistani constitution requires the government to hold a Tribal Jirga to solicit the opinion of Tribal People before any decision to be taken regarding Tribal Areas.
The petition added that the unconstitutionally constituted six-member committee over FATA reforms did not belong to FATA nor has any relation whatsoever with the region which denies its requisite credibility and legitimacy.
The petition emphasized on Supreme Court of Pakistan to restrain the federal government and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from taking any decision regarding FATA based on the reforms committee’s recommendations.
The federal cabinet had approved a set of reforms last week to be taken for the proposed merger of FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The government authorities claimed that merger of FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would help in development of the area and as well promotion of Pakistaniat in FATA people that could be useful to combat terrorism in the area. While majority of FATA people have opposed the merger plan by the government and termed it a “Robbery Policy” to take control over resources, laying in abundance in various parts of FATA. Some people from FATA said that the central government of Pakistan is taking the decision when its people are totally under the control of Pakistani Army and have no access to the freedom of expression and movement. While some of them said that FATA was never a regular part of Pakistan, so any decision regarding FATA merger would be invalid and unacceptable to its majority people, added that fate of FATA can only be decided under the shelter of United Nations, arguing that land and people of FATA historically belongs to Afghanistan and it was created as a buffer zone by the British Empire between Afghanistan and British India. While in Independence Act, there is no legislation regarding FATA to be a part of Pakistan.