News Coverage of FATA Committee Election Recommendations 2013 January

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<ul><li>1.POLITICAL PARTIES UNITED IN PUSH FOR FAIR ELECTIONS IN FATANews Coverage of FATA Committee Recommendations on General Elections : BBC Urdu, 8 January 2013 Nawa-e-Waqt , 10 January 2013*Print edition onlyPolitical parties united on FATA electoral reformsDawn, 8 January 2013 Nightmare (Dawn editorial)Dawn, 10 January 2013 in FATA (Dawn opinion page)The Nation, 11 February 2013 going to hold first-ever polls in FATAThe Nation, 10 January 2013 elections: FATA Committee set to reach consensus on demandsExpress Tribune, 9 January 2013, fair elections in FATA: Political parties make recommendations to ECP, NADRAFrontier Post, 9 January 2013</li></ul><p>2. Political parties make recommendations to ECP, NADRA for free, fair elections in FATABusiness Recorder, 8 January 2013 committee explains five key concerns over electionsBusiness Recorder, 9 January 2013 on the frontline in FATABy Zia Ur Rehman, The Friday Times, 8 February 2013;page=3Politicians make recommendations to ECP, NADRA for free, fair FATA electionsPakistan Observer, 9 January 2013, NADRA Urged to Take Steps for Fair Elections in FATAFATA Research Centre (FRC), 8 January 2013;utm_medium=FATANews*Also covered in the 9 January 2013 FRC Daily BriefECP Role in IDPs Right to VoteBy Khan Zeb Burki, The Lahore Times, 21 January 2013 parties show rare unity in push for fair elections in tribal areasNews Pakistan, 8 January 2013 political parties united in push for fair elections in tribal regionThe Kooza, 8 January 2013 and Word versions of the accompanying news release: High resolution photographs of FATA Committee members and events: Parties Joint Committee on FATA ReformsMember and Contact Information:Awami National Party (ANP)Latif Afridi, Vice President KPBushra Gohar, MNA, Central Vice PresidentArbab Tahir, General Secretary, Khyber PakhtunkhwaNawabzada Mohsin Ali Khan, Deputy Secretary General CentralJamaat-e-Islami (JI)Mohammad Ibrahim, Professor and Provincial AmeerSahibzada Haroon Rashid, Ameer FATAZarnoor Afridi, Naib Ameer FATA2 3. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F)Mohammad Jalal ud din, Advocate, Former AmbassadorAbdul Jalil Jan, Information Secretary, KPMufti Abdul Shakoor, Deputy General Secretary KPAbdur-Rashid, General Secretary BajaurMuttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)Syed Asif Hasnain, MNAMohammad Rehan Hashmi, MNANational Party (NP)Dr. Malik Baloch, PresidentSenator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenju, Vice PresidentMukhtar Bacha, Provincial President, KPIdrees Kamal, Provincial General Secretary, KPPashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP)Akram Shah Khan, Central Secretary GeneralMukhtar Khan Yousafzai, Provincial President, KPRaza Mohammad Raza, Information SecretaryPakistan Muslim League (PML)Ajmal Khan Wazir, Central Senior Vice PresidentPakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)Rehmat Salam Khattak, General Secretary, KPArsallah Khan Hoti, Spokesperson, KPNasir Kamal Marwat, Vice PresidentPakistan Peoples Party (PPP)Senator Farhatullah Babar, Spokeperson, President of PakistanKiramat Ullah Chagharmati, Speaker, KP AssemblyRahim Dad Khan, Senior Minister, KPSenator Sardar AliMirza M. Jihadi, Advisor SAFRONQaumi Watan Party (QWP)Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli, General SecretarySikandar Hayat Sherpao, MPA, President, KPAsad Afridi, President, FATAUsman Ali Khalil, Provincial Vice President PDF and Word versions of the accompanying news release: resolution photographs of FATA Committee members and events: | @FATAparties | 4. : 3102 BBC Urdu, 8 January 4 5. () () () TranslationIn 2011, the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari allowed all politicalparties to initiate political activities in the tribal areas. But still today, 18 months later,neither the president nor prime minister nor any leader of a major political party hasvisited the area.Ten political parties representing their parties interests in the tribal areas of Pakistanhave demanded five major reforms prior to general elections.Elections are fast approaching in Pakistan and election-related activities are on the rise.However, it has been reported that nothing is happening in the tribal areas.For the first time in history, all political parties will be able to participate freely inelections in tribal areas. However, during the four and a half years of the presentgovernments tenure, neither president nor the prime minister has been able to visit theseareas. No leader of any major political party has visited either, despite the lifting of theban on political activity.Pakistans religious parties, JUI-F and JI have been very active there now and were sopreviously despite the ban on political activity.A committee made up of ten political parties has demanded now from the governmentthat it ensure registration of voters in the tribal areas, facilitate voting of one and halfmillion displaced tribal people, appoint judicial officials in the tribal areas just like otherparts of the country, and provide tribal voters with polling stations near their homes. TheFATA Committee also demanded direct contact from the election commission with localpolitical party leaders in FATA.Senior Vice President of PML-Q, Ajmal Khan Wazir, who belongs to FATA, is amember of this committee.Speaking to BBC Urdu, he admitted that political leaders have still not tried to visit thetribal areas. He said that "these visits should be made; otherwise it will be too late.5 6. Explaining these demands, Ajmal Wazir said that neither transparent nor sufficient voter registration efforts have been made in the tribal area. For this reason, it is possible for a candidate to successfully win a FATA National Assembly constituency with only five thousand or seven thousand votes. We have also stressed the need of making CNICs available to women and increasing their enrollment in the voter list and participation in elections. The Political Parties Joint Committee on FATA Reforms counts on the representation of ANP, JI, PPP, JUI-F, MQM, NP, PkMAP, PML, PML-N and QWP. These parties think that the election commission should immediately implement these reforms. Otherwise, it will be difficult to hold fair, transparent and neutral elections in the tribal areas. The committee has sent these recommendations to the Election Commission of Pakistan, President Zardari and the Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for immediate consideration and implementation. Nawa-e-Waqt , 10 January 2013 *Print edition only Political parties united on FATA electoral reforms Dawn, 8 January 2013 a significant move, 10 major political parties have jointly submitted their proposals to theElection Commission of Pakistan (ECP) suggesting steps needed to ensure holding of fair,transparent and accessible party-based general election in the tribal areas for the first time in thecountrys history.A letter containing five recommendations has been sent to Chief Election Commissioner Justice(retd) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim and ECP Secretary Ishtiak Ahmed Khan by the hitherto unknownPolitical Parties Joint Committee on Fata Reforms or Fata Committee. It comprises membersfrom both government and opposition parties.The letter, delivered to the ECP on Tuesday, carries signatures of representatives of the PPP,PML-N, PML-Q, MQM, ANP, JUI-F, JI, National Party, Pakhtunkhawa Milli Awami Party andQaumi Watan Party. 6 7. Talking to Dawn, a member of the committee and senior vice-president of the PML-Q, AjmalKhan Wazir, said political parties had highlighted their concerns requiring immediate action bythe ECP.Mr Wazir, who himself is aspiring for a National Assembly seat from South Waziristan, said thecommittee had been formed some two years ago, but its members managed to finaliserecommendations as recently as last month at a meeting facilitated by the National DemocraticInstitute, a US think tank, in Islamabad.He said the committee was formed to develop a consensus on electoral reforms and amendmentsto the Frontier Crimes Regulation and extension of the Political Parties Order to Fata.The committee recommended that a targeted campaign should be launched immediately toprovide Fata citizens with computerised national identity cards (CNICs) and to register them asvoters with the ECP.The campaign, it says, should place special emphasis on women throughout Fata and oninternally displaced persons (IDPs) living in camps in Fata and in adjacent districts.The ECP and Nadra have been asked to communicate schedules of deployment of additionalregistration efforts directly to the leadership of political parties and work together closely and asquickly as possible to ensure that all those receiving new CNICs are also registered to vote.The committee fears that over 150,000 IDPs are facing disenfranchisement in the coming generalelection if they are not allowed to cast votes through special measures.International law is clear about the voting rights of IDPs and to ensure equal access todemocratic participation, all IDPs from Fata should be provided with the opportunity to vote.Specifically, all citizens residing in camps should be permitted to cast their vote for the candidateof their choice in their home constituency in Fata, it says.Due to the security situation, many IDPs are prohibited from returning home and these votersshould be provided with an alternative mechanism for voting in home constituency electionseven while living currently in an IDP camp elsewhere.At a minimum, absentee voting should be facilitated for Fata IDPs living outside their normalconstituencies in the camps and host communities at Togh Serai camp, New Durrani camp,Jalozai camp, D.I. Khan, Hangu, Kohat, Kurram, Peshawar and Tank.The letter recalls that Pakistan is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights andthe International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. These charters obligate the state togive the internally displaced the right and opportunity to cast their vote whether they are living incamps or elsewhere.The committee has urged the government to ensure that judicial officers from neighbouringsettled districts should be appointed as returning officers and district returning officers as per adecision taken by the National Judicial Policy Making Committee in November.7 8. To ensure equitable election administration throughout Pakistan, this decision should also applyto Fata. As there are no judicial officers in Fata, officers from adjacent districts (Lower Dir,Malakand, Charsadda, Peshawar, Nowshera, Kohat, Karak, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Tank, andD.I. Khan) should be sent to Fata to serve as election officials, recommends the committee.The committee has requested the ECP to ensure that polling stations are established within twokilometres of voters homes in line with a decision of the Supreme Court of June 8 last year.The committee asked the ECP to maintain close coordination with political leaders at the Fataagency level as it will allow the identification and mitigation of other local election problems asthey arise.The copies of the letter have been sent to President Asif Ali Zardari, Khyber PakhtunkhawaGovernor Barrister Masood Kausar and Nadra chairman Tariq Malik.Security NightmareDawn editorial, 10 January 2013 group of individuals representing 10 political parties and brought together by an NGO underthe banner of Political Parties Joint Committee on Fata Reforms has produced a set ofrecommendations for the Election Commission of Pakistan to help ensure the next generalelections in Fata are more transparent, fair and representative than polls held earlier in the region.To the extent that a voter registration drive and increasing the number of polling stations willprevent the disenfranchisement of voters in an area that historically has seen some of the lowestturnouts in the country, the recommendations are sensible. However, there is a more fundamentalarea of concern that the recommendations did not touch upon: security. With military operationsongoing in some parts of Fata and militants present in every single tribal agency though theirpresence varies in intensity elections in Fata will be trickier than ever.Consider the evidence. Maulana Mirajuddin, the MNA representing the Mehsud area of SouthWaziristan, was killed in May 2010. Over two and a half years later, a by-election is yet to beheld. Bara in Khyber is beset by similarly intractable security problems, as is Orakzai, where amilitary operation is ongoing. North Waziristan remains, of course, a security nightmare aboutwhich little has been done. But the problem is not just of disenfranchisement of voters: evenwhere elections will be possible, voters choice will be severely restricted. The TTP has madeclear that secular parties like the ANP and the PPP are major targets of the militants, making itnext to impossible for the candidates of those parties to run a proper campaign in what will bethe first party-based election in Fata. With both of those parties effectively sidelined if securitydoes not improve and they do have significant support in the tribal belt the door will openfur...</p>