BAJAUAR: Leaders of various political and religious parties, social rights activists, youth representatives and students have welcomed the passage of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) reforms bill by the National Assembly (NA) which empowered the Supreme Court (SC) and Peshawar High Court (PHC) to extend its jurisdiction to the tribal areas, and termed the move as the beginning of a new era for the tribal population.
Talking to media persons, they lauded the efforts made by members of the National Assembly for passing the bill with a majority vote.
A notable tribal elder and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leader from Bajaur Agency Nawabzada Anwar Zeb Khan said that the FATA reforms bill would not only extend the jurisdiction of PHC and SC to the tribal areas, but would also ensure the protection of the fundamental rights of the tribal people.
He termed the passage of the bill as a roadmap towards the complete extension of Pakistan’s regular laws to the tribal areas. Zeb was of the view that the extension of the superior courts’ jurisdiction to FATA was a long-standing demand of the tribesmen who have otherwise remained deprived of their basic rights since birth.
Well-known human rights activist and National Society for the Protection of Human Rights (NSPHR) Policy Advisor Habibul Hassan Yad said that extending the superior courts’ jurisdiction to the tribal areas was good news for the tribesmen as they could now approach the courts for redressal of their grievances, especially for injustices committed against them by the political administration. He said the move would not only ensure the protection of the fundamental rights of the tribal people, but would also help to ensure that the rule of law prevailed in the tribal areas.
PTI youth wing activist and member of Provincial Youth Assembly Muhammad Ayub Khan said that the extension of the superior courts’ jurisdiction to the tribal areas would not only ensure speedy justice to the tribesmen, but would also improve the socio-economic condition of the tribal areas. Social justice was vital for peace and socio-economic development of the region, he added.
Ayub said that the move would not only provide the most basic and fundamental rights to over six million tribesmen, but would also decrease the “unlimited powers” of the political agents in the tribal areas. He further said that the day was not far when the tribesmen would get rid of the century-old colonial governance system forever.
Talking about the importance of the bill, he said that the move would help the tribesmen to challenge any decision and penalty imposed on them by the political administration under the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) in the superior courts of Pakistan.
Jamaat-e-Islami Bajaur chief Qari Abdul Majeed said that the passage of the bill was a truly remarkable step towards provision of judicial and basic rights to the people of the tribal areas. He said that the credit of the move to extend the jurisdiction of the superior courts to the tribal areas went to the workers of all political and religious parties, lawmakers, students and tribesmen, who have been struggling for this cause since a long time.