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> Status of FATA should be decided through wishes of the FATA people within 2 years; Northern Areas should become a new Province; Concurrent List should be phased-out:
   PILDAT Democracy & Governance Panel proposes Constitutional Amendments relating to FATA, FANA and Provincial Autonomy

August 18, 2009


Islamabad, August 18; The PILDAT Democracy & Governance Panel has proposed further constitutional amendments on the status of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA); Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA) and Provincial Autonomy.


Proposing recommendations for Constitutional Amendments to the Parliamentary Committee on FATA, the Panel has said that peace and good governance in the FATA require meaningful mainstreaming of these areas with the rest of Pakistan. In order to achieve these key objectives, two alternatives should be presented to the citizens of FATA:


     - Merger into NWFP; and
     - Reconstitution as a separate Province of Pakistan


The views of FATA citizens should be ascertained through a referendum, the Panel proposed. A constitutional amendment to this effect is required in clause (6) of Article 247 which should be omitted and substituted so that it becomes binding on the President of Pakistan to hold a referendum in FATA, within the next two years, to ascertain whether the residents desire merger of these areas with North West Frontier Province or the reconstitution of the said areas as a separate province of Pakistan. The Parliament, then, by law should give effect to such ascertainment, the Panel proposed.


On the Northern Areas, the Panel held that the Article 1(3) of the Constitution empowers Parliament to make law admitting into the Federation new states or areas on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit. In exercise of this power the Parliament should make a law admitting the Northern Areas as a separate province of Pakistan on a provisional basis and giving to the people of these areas representation in the Senate and the National Assembly of Pakistan, as also a separate Provincial Assembly and independent High Court, until such time as the final status of these areas has been determined in accordance with the plebiscite to be held as per United Nationís Resolutions on the Kashmir dispute.


Elaborating its proposals on the question of Provincial Autonomy, the Panel has recommended that the Concurrent List should be omitted. A minority view was that although there should be some forward movement in giving greater autonomy to the Provinces, the process should be a gradual one keeping in view various considerations including security and finances.


The members of the Panel who were part of the meeting included Justice (Retd.) Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui, Former Chief Justice of Pakistan; Mr. Ilahi Bukhsh Soomro, former Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan; Mr. Shahid Hamid, Senior Advocate Supreme Court; former Governor of the Punjab; Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Vice Chancellor, Beaconhouse National University / former Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs / for Finance; Dr. Hasan-Askari Rizvi, Political Analyst; Mr. Mujib ur Rehman Shami, Editor Daily Pakistan; Dr. Tariq Hassan, Advocate Supreme Court; former Chairman SECP; Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director and Ms. Aasiya Riaz, Joint Director PILDAT.


The PILDAT Democracy and Governance Panel has earlier formulated and shared proposals for the repeal of the 17th Amendment and the urgent establishment of a Judicial Commission to streamline judicial appointments for the consideration of the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms.