Senate of Pakistan


August 24, 2015

1. Visit of the Senate Standing Committee on Defence was held on 24th August, 2015 at 11.00 am at Governor House / Corps Headquarters, Peshawar under the Chairmanship of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed.

2. The agenda before the Committee was as under:-

  • Briefing on Defence and security related issues in FATA and the way forward.
  • Any other item with permission of the Chair.

3. The following members of the Committee attended the meeting:-

  1. Senator Ilyas Ahmad Bilour
  2. Senator Hidayat Ullah
  3. Senator Ata ur Rehman
  4. Senator Lt. Gen. (R) Abdul Qayyum
  5. Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi
  6. Senator Farhatullah Babar           
  7. Senator Lt. Gen. (R) Salahuddin Tirmizi
  8. Senator Brig. (R) John Kenneth Williams

4. The Committee first visited Corps Headquarters, Peshawar where Corps Commander gave a comprehensive briefing on the background, conduct and post operation scenario of the operation Zarb-e-Azab.  The briefing also including detailed overview of the return strategy of Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs) and rehabilitation of the affected areas. 

Briefing in Corps Headquarters

5. Chairman Committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed in his initial remarks greatly appreciated the role of Pakistan Army in conducting and executing the operation Zarb-e-Azab with zeal and motivation and reiterated that the entire nation irrespective of the political association, cast and polarization stands by the Pakistan Army in support of the operation. He further stated that the Pakistan nation and international community in general has denoted the operation as a major success in terms of dismantling the hideouts and networks of the terrorist groups and would in turn go a long way in bringing peace and stability in the country and region. 

6.  The Committee while reviewing the progress of the operation expressed its utmost satisfaction on the level of the coordination among the civilian and military intelligence agencies and appreciated the morale of troops who are fighting in most difficult terrain and circumstances. The Committee lauded the sacrifices rendered by the officers and men during the operations and had written new chapters of valour and commitments.  

7. Corps Commander expressed his firm resolve to continue the operation till elimination of all terrorists and assured that such rogue and nefarious elements will not be allowed to regroup in future.

Briefing in Governor House

8.  After the briefing, the Committee visited Governor House, Peshawar, where Governor KhyberPakhtunkhwa gave a detailed briefing primarily focusing on role of FATA Secretariat in development of infrastructure and rehabilitation of TDPs in FATA.  The Governor flanked by Chief Minister and Corps Commander, highlighted the reforms being initiated/undertaken by the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in pursuant to the approved strategy with respect to TDPs.

9.  The Committee while acknowledging the efforts of the Government of KP observed that funds as expected to be released by the Federal Government for rehabilitation of TDPs has not been provided in time thereby making it difficult for the provincial government to coup up with progress of the work/plan. The Chairman Committee assured the Governor that the Committee will do its best to facilitate and assist the provincial government in resolving various issues lying pending with the Federal Government.   

10. The Committee noted that FATA was unique in terms of constitutional ambiguity. Under Article 1© of the Constitution the tribal areas also constituted the territory of Pakistan and its people were thus entitled to the same protection of fundamental rights as were the people of other parts of the country. However, Article 247 (7) ousted the jurisdiction of the SC and high courts. It was an impediment in the way of the tribals securing their fundamental rights and in their integration and mainstreaming. 

11. The Committee noted that the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa through a unanimous Resolution in May 2012 called for deleting clause (7) of Article 247 of the Constitution. Peshawar High Court in its judgment in April 2014 also advised the Parliament through federal government to make suitable amendments in Article 247 (7) of the Constitution. Tribal people, lawyers’ bodies including the Supreme Court Bar Association and FATA Parliamentarians have also called for deleting clause (7) of Article 247 of the Constitution. As a result, in August 2014, the Senate also passed a unanimous resolution demanding that the jurisdiction of the SC and high courts be extended to FATA. The Committee noted that consequently a Constitutional Amendment Bill for the purpose duly endorsed by the relevant committee of the Senate is awaiting to be tabled in the House.

12. The Committee observed that the very name FATA is an athermized word‘ Federal’ in it and clearly means that its people have no right to govern their affairs but they are administered and controlled from Islamabad.
This is an impediment in the way of mainstreaming and integration of its people. The Committee was of a firm view that the political reforms and empowering people will strengthen and not weaken the national security.


13. The Committee made following recommendations during the meeting:-

  1. Ministry of Finance may approve/sanction the remaining new posts in FATA as demanded by FATA Secretariat to ensure secure, speedy and dignified return of TDPs to their respective areas.  FATA Secretariat may accordingly take up with Ministry of Finance under intimation to this Secretariat.
  2. Home Secretary, KP may take up case with the Federal Government for creation of 2500-3000 additional posts in KP Police to be reserved for FATA residents only under intimation to this Secretariat. As of now, FATA residents are eligible to apply against the vacancies falling in Federal Capital only.
  3. FATA Secretariat may take up case with concerned Ministries for release of funds allocated and committed by Ministry of Finance and other international donor agencies/friendly countries for reconstruction and rehabilitation in FATA, under intimation to this Secretariat.
  4. The provincial government of KP should make all out efforts to operationalize the basic health and educational facilities in FATA currently lying dormant due to lack of staff and desired equipment.  A comprehensive strategy should be worked out in this regard including grant of incentives/special package to staff being considered for posting in such hard areas.
  5. The Federal Government in consultation with FATA Secretariat may devise a mechanism for holding elections of local self governments in each Agency of the tribal
    areas. The mechanism should be based on adult franchise, transparency, and duly empowered local government bodies.
  6. Federal Government may take necessary steps for separation of judicial functions from the executive authorities in FATA with local government having a say in the formation of tribal Jirgas as Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism. The Committee endorsed the Jirga system as ADR mechanism but strongly feels that it should be more representative, independent and strengthened.
  7. About the lingering issue of whether FATA should be made a separate province, or integrated into KPK or its autonomous status kept intact, the Committee recommended that the decision should not be taken by political parties but by the people of tribal areas themselves.
  8. The Constitutional amendment bill regarding extension of jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and High Courts in FATA be taken up and passed unanimously by the Parliament.

14. The meeting ended with vote of thanks to the chair.

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