Corps commanders moot: Army repeats call for mainstreaming of Fata

Corps commanders moot: Army repeats call for mainstreaming of Fata

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ISLAMABAD: The army has said dividends of peace achieved through a series of military operations in the Federal Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) can be realised only after the mainstreaming of the tribal areas, which are still ruled under the draconian laws dating back to the British Raj.

The statement came on Wednesday from the top military commanders who met in Rawalpindi at the General Headquarters (GHQ) to take stock of internal and external security challenges. The corps commanders’ conference was presided over by army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

“[The] forum reviewed evolving geo-strategic environment and security situation of the country. Progress of ongoing Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad and Khushhal Balochistan programme was also discussed,” said a statement issued by the military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The military brass acknowledged contributions and sacrifices of all national stakeholders especially the ‘resilient Pakistanis’ in rejecting terrorism and bringing about security and stability in the country. They discussed lines of stability operations to carry forward the gains of successful kinetic operations.

The army chief directed that the stability and development efforts must trickle down dividends of peace to the public, adding that the control of cleared areas was being handed over to civil administration with enhanced capacity.

“Key dividend remains linked to mainstreaming of Fata in line with popular public sentiments,” Gen Qamar was quoted as saying. The forum decided to continue efforts in support of state institutions which are taking Pakistan on a positive trajectory of peace, stability and prosperity.

In January, the National Assembly passed a Fata reforms bill extending jurisdiction of the Peshawar High Court and the Supreme Court to the tribal areas.

The bill was part of the reforms package the government intends to introduce to do away with the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), a British era laws which many believe are outdated and violate the basic human rights.

The bill will become law only if it is passed by the Senate. However, the government has yet to table it before the upper house of parliament, inviting criticism from the people of Fata.

A group of Fata tribesmen have threatened to march towards Islamabad if the bill is not tabled and approved by the Senate in the ongoing session.

The tribal areas have witnesses a series of military operations since the start of the war on terror as some of the tribal agencies had become hotbeds of local militants and their foreign cohorts in the wake of war in Afghanistan.

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