Political administration enjoys immunity from accountability in FATA
Islamabad Jan, 30: Freedom of expression especially among women is absent and political administration and authorities enjoy immunity from all sorts of accountability in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), says FRC research report.
Fata Research Centre launched its latest research study titled ‘Extremism and Radicalization: State of Governance in FATA’ along with ‘Annual Security Report’ and biannual research journal ‘Tigah’ here at a local hotel.
FRC research report finds that indicators of ‘voice and accountability’ portray bleak situation on the ground. Freedom of expression especially among women is absent and political administration/ authorities enjoy immunity from all sorts of accountability.
The report reads that 94% of the respondents were not satisfied with the current administrative setup in FATA and 65% agreed that public sector officials are involved in corrupt practices while 28% held Political Agent as the most powerful authority in decision making.
The report further reads that vivid majority, 62%, of the respondents do not feel themselves safe in the current prevailing situation in FATA. Above 3/4 of respondents, i.e. 77%, of the total opines that they are not satisfied with the provision of basic facilities and the quality of public service delivery.
An annual report on the security situation in FATA also presented some alarming facts and figures. According to details unearthed in FRC Annual security Report 2012, a total of 570 incidents were recorded in the past one year in which 2544 people were killed and a grand total of 1508 were injured.
Speaking on the occasion Malik Azmat Khan, Minister of State for Inter-Provincial Coordination highlighted the need for further governance reforms. He said that government took various steps to bring peace and prosperity.
“We brought meaningful reforms in Frontier Crimes Regulation 1901, extended Political Parties Order 2002 to FATA, set up a FATA Tribunal with appellate jurisdiction and gave a proper structure and terms of reference to FATA Levies”, Malik Azmat said.
BBC editor Mr Haroon Rashid observed that the president of Pakistan had not visited FATA even a single time during last 5 years. Where other speakers named Political Agent as ‘king’ he ironically referred to the president as “the king of the king makers” possessing unlimited and unbridled powers to exercise for FATA inconsistent with the norms of democracy.
Security analyst Brig (Rtd) Said Nazir, gave a presentation on the security situation of FATA and grieved at the plight of the civilians who became sandwiched among military and militants.
The political and strategic analysts Jan Muhammad Assakzai and Hassan Khan also spoke at the occasion.
Frontier Crimes Regulation, a law to govern FATA, is an obsolete and incomplete one which has provided space for the penetration of militants in tribal society. The improper adjustment of tribal customs and traditions in the FCR is one of the reasons of the emergence of militants and powerlessness of the locals in FATA, the research report reveals.
“The governance system in FATA has widely been criticized at various forums on the basis of its structural inefficiency, incompetency and inhumanity which are now existent in both formal and informal practices”, the research finds.
Earlier in his remarks Dr Ashraf Ali, President, FATA Research Center said that bad governance and rampant corruption in the state institutions that widened the gap between the state and society ultimately created a room for the militants to groom with confidence.
Dr Ali noted that now fighting this menace would mean an overhauling of the whole governing system. He suggested that only the use of force would not work, rather it should be taken up through a well defined, well designed and well thought out agenda on all fronts including political, economic, cultural and ideological.
Dr Ali suggested that reforms in governance structure would bring peace and prosperity in the tribal region. “Legislation to improve governance structure in FATA is inevitable” Dr Ashraf said.
Fata Research Centre also published a research journal ‘Tigah’ containing research papers on social, political and economic issues of FATA.
People from different walks of life including politicians, civil society activists, academicians, researchers and students participated in the seminar while debating the issues of governance, security and peace in FATA.