Zardari allows political parties in FATA
Islamabad, Aug 12: Pakistan on Friday allowed political parties to operate freely for the first time in its lawless tribal belt of Fata and amended harsh federal laws in a bid to lessen the grip of militancy in the region.
President Asif Ali Zardari signed the amendments by decree, with the government looking for ways to contain systemic violence in the semi-autonomous region that Washington has called the global headquarters of Al-Qaeda.
“In the long run we must defeat the militant mindset to defend our country, our democracy, our institutions and our way of life,” Zardari said, describing the system of justice in the tribal belt as “obsolete”. The northwest region has long been governed by British colonial law.
It is a headquarters for Taliban and other Al-Qaeda-linked networks fighting against US troops in Afghanistan and behind a bombing campaign in Pakistan that has killed more than 4,500 people in four years.
Critics argue that the lack of reforms have alienated tribesmen and made it easier for militant networks to recruit young men to take up arms to fight the Pakistani government and to avenge a covert American drone war.
The Taliban bitterly oppose Islamabad’s alliance with the United States and American drone strikes, which leaked American diplomatic cables showed the government quietly approved.
“Henceforth the political parties, subject to appropriate regulations to be framed, will be freely allowed to operate in the tribal areas and present their socio-economic programmes,” said Zardari’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar.
Under the reforms, an accused has to be produced before an authority within 24 hours of his arrest and has the right to bail. The practice of arresting tribesmen for collective responsibility will also be softened, said Babar.
The Pakistani military is fighting against homegrown militants in much of the tribal belt, but has ignored US pressure to open a new front against Afghan and Al-Qaeda-linked extremists in the district of North Waziristan.
Babar told AFP that allowing political parties to operate freely meant that “a vacuum had been filled” and that parties would now liaise with tribal elders in order to carry out their activities in a peaceful manner.
Until now lawmakers representing the tribal belt were technically independents. Although some have been backed by political parties, the parties themselves were not allowed to operate on the ground.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 13 Aug 2011 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM SOUTH ASIA
- Death, life sentences to Pak Ranger in killing case
- Zardari allows political parties in FATA
- Uncertainty in Nepal as PM set to quit
- 16 dead in Pakistan rains
- 3 cops killed in Pakistan, Taliban commander escapes
- Pak channel to counter Taliban propaganda
- In digital age, no takers in Pak for Eid cards
- Rs 200 mn endowment fund for Pakistani journalists
- Protester dies as police open fire in Hunza
- Nepali father drowns daughters
- China launches Pakistan's first communications satellite
‘Chop 10-40 green trees everyday’
Bandipora, Aug 12: Residents of Ajas, Mulkhiuhama and other adjoining areas in this north Kashmir district on Friday alleged that officials of the Forest Department have failed to check the timber smuggling More
- Srinagar City
Directs for construction of ponds in 2 weeks; says sterilization not priority, catch dogs first
Srinagar, Aug 12: The High Court on Friday pulled up administration for failing to put a check on the dog menace and directed it to come up with dog ponds within two weeks. The division bench comprising More
SURANKOTE FAKE ENCOUNTER
Surankote, Aug 12: Police have collected blood samples of two families- which claimed that that youth killed in a fake encounter resembles with their sons – for DNA matching, official sources said here More
- South Asia
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Karachi, Aug 12: An anti-terrorism court today handed out death sentence to a Pakistani paramilitary trooper and life sentences to six others convicted of killing an 18-year-old unarmed man, who was publicly More
Damascus, Aug 12: Syrian security forces opened fire Friday killing four people as thousands of anti-regime protesters poured onto streets of flashpoint cities after the Ramadan weekly prayers, rights More