http://www.fatareforms.org/civil-society-calls-new-fata-legal-status/ :: A seminar on FATA terrorism and its solutions was held by the Vision 21 Foundation in Marriott hotel on September 1, 2013. The seminar was attended by politicians from various parties including PTI and JUI-F, civil society representatives and analysts including ambassador Ayaz Wazir, Brig. Shah Mehmood and Brig. Said Nazir and media personalities such as Saleem Safi. Two FATA MNAs Mr. Qaisar Jamal and Mr. Shahryar Afridi also participated in the seminar.
The seminar was opened by the director of Vision 21, Dr. Azhar Aslam, who explained that Vision 21 had taken the initiative to hold such a seminar on the behalf of civil society because of the lethargy and near in action of the present government, which has yet to announce a clear-cut policy direction of how to combat the menace of terrorism in the country.
He further elaborated that Vision 21 had written a policy paper in this matter proposing a comprehensive solution for this problem.
One of the fundamental solutions is to change the legal status of FATA and make it into a province.
The participants were asked to agree or disagree with this proposal or make any alternative proposals. There was a lively discussion and debate and several civil society representatives and students also took part in this debate and asked various questions from the delegates.
The final recommendations that came out of seminar and had consensus are as follows:
The first step for the restoration of peace is negotiation but these negotiations should have the prerequisites below as part of the package.
Negotiations must take place within the parameters of the Constitution of Pakistan which is a red line that must not be crossed.
Negotiations must be accompanied with a package which includes regularising the legal status of FATA and implementing a sound governance structure.
The new governance structure for FATA must include the local bodies system, provision of economic generation, and job opportunities.
Local people in the tribal areas should be given opportunity to govern themselves. Without this there will be no peace.
The agreement should provide the provision of security to all those who lay down their weapons and become a part of mainstream society after rehabilitation.
Negotiations should take place with the spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness.
Militants of TTP should be clearly asked to dissociate themselves from the sectarian and foreign elements.
The negotiation package must also carry with it the determination to use limited, focused and precise use of force against those who still refuse to become part of the mainstream process after the package given above and want to continue fighting for various other reasons.