Peshawar — Students, political workers, lawyers and other activists demanding Fata’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have marched from Qayum stadium and staged a sit-in in front of the governor house in Peshawar on Wednesday.
Fata Students Organization (FSO) was the leading youth and students group who arranged and organized the protest. Fata’s political workers, parliamentarians, KP’s politicians, activists and a number of women from Fata have participated in the protest.
Addressing the rally from a stage on a container’s top, president FSO and a key role in activism for Fata reforms Shaukat Aziz said that complete abolish of Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) was a solution to ensure provision of all fundamental rights to people of tribal areas. “Now the government is not sincere to mainstream Fata and we would not stop demanding our rights,” he said.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Fata’s leader Haji Iqbal Afridi has appreciated the movement led by youth and said that it assured us about Fata to be mainstreamed soon. He said that keeping Fata under FCR is not only unacceptable to its people but it is also tragedy for central government to deprive our people of the fundamental rights.
Women participant were contributing equally alongside men to protest in favour of Fata’s merger. Awami National Party (ANP) Fata’s politician Sakeena Bibi who belongs to Mohmand Agency told Tribal Post she is fighting for Fata’s people and their rights to live like other citizens of the country. “I am happy after seeing these youth who run such impressive movements for their rights,” said Sakeena.
Members of women led organizations like Qabaili Khoor (Tribal Sister) were also protesting alongside the youth. President Qbaili Khoor Nosheen Jamal criticised the so-called ‘Riwaj Act’, which is supposed to replace the FCR. She said that the proposed reforms package is not more than a lollipop for tribal people. Talking to Tribal Post, she said that government has always disappointed us. “We demand government to clarify ‘Riwaj Act’ and we want to know what government is trying for to give in the name of Riwaj Act,” she told adding that tribal women have suffered more than men have in the previous decade in Fata.
Another active member of FSO and lawyer Samreena Khan Wazir told Tribal Post that they demanded nothing more than what citizen of other areas of the country have. “We demand fundamental rights in Fata; we want the constitution of Pakistan to be implemented in Fata like other parts of the country. It is very simple,” she said.
Leader of the ‘Olasi Tehreek’ Syed Alam Mehsud while addressing the rally said that it is time to protest for their rights. “Fata’s parliamentarian have been divided over reforms process and on the other hand, some political parties and its leader are trying to spoil the reforms process just for their own personal and political interests. However, now our women are also standing side by side with tribal youth which means that no delaying tactics can stop our way,” said Mehsud.
Later on governor KP Iqbal Zafar Jhagra called on the student leaders to meet him in his office. According to the students, governor has assured them to accept their demands until August 14. FSO’s voice president (women wing), Aziza Mehsud said that they have ended sit-in after successful meeting with the governor. “We would wait until that time, if they use the delaying tactics again, we have to protest for our rights,” said Aziza.
By: Islam Gul and Raza Dotani