Eijaz Mohmand of FATA Lawyers Forum who was one of the legal experts who drafted the proposed amendment
PESHAWAR: Political science professor says new status still marginalises women
At a seminar on the 22nd constitutional amendment organised by the Center for Governance and Public Accountability (CGPA) at a hotel in the city, lawmakers and intellectuals said the solution to Federally Administered Tribal Areas’ problems was to mainstream the region. However, there was little consensus on whether it should be included in the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pata) or made a separate province.
Former lawmaker Munir Orakzai said Fata should not become part of Pata but the tribal zone should be included within the ambit of mainstream Pakistan. Orakzai believed the 22nd constitutional amendment proposal had military backing to change the status of Fata. The proposed amendment deals with changing the status of Fata by way of a merger with K-P.
“I headed a tribal jirga regarding Fata’s status on the invitation of former army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani during his tenure where I suggested we do whatever was best for the country,” said Orakzai.
Regarding the merger, Orakzai said even though the status of Fata was changed to Pata in the plan, he guaranteed seven tribal areas and six Frontier Regions (FR) would be brought into the remit of Pakistani law.
In the first quarter of 2016, Mohmand Agency, FRs and Bajaur Agency will be included into Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Khyber, Orakzai and Kurram agencies will follow suit in 2017. North and South Waziristan agencies will be merged by 2018.
Eijaz Mohmand of FATA Lawyers Forum who was one of the legal experts who drafted the proposed amendment, said Fata’s problems were unique; including it in K-P seemed to be the only solution. “Fata cannot survive on its own and its status as an independent province for the time being was not sustainable,” he added. Mohmand said the people of Fata were Pakistanis and with terrorism spreading “from the Middle East to our country’s borders”, they need to be protected and this proposed 22nd amendment deserved a chance.
PTI MNA Shehryar Afridi also extended support to the merger. He said tribespeople truly knew what suffering meant and despite their sacrifices, the media constantly portrayed them as terrorists.
Political science Professor Noreen Naseer said even though women outnumbered men in Fata, there was no mention of them in this entire paradigm. “Women empowerment is only possible if laws did not discriminate against them,” she said. “Changing acronyms will not make a difference and female exploitation will continue.”
Even though they were invited, none of the signatories to the amendment were present at the seminar which ended inconclusively.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2015.