Call for right of appeal against FCR
LANDI KOTAL – The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Khyber Agency chapter, on December 12, has demanded amendment to the Constitution giving tribesmen the right of appeal in superior courts of the country against punishments given under the Frontier Crimes Regulations.
The demand was made at a one-day consultation meeting on the FCR held in Jamrud under the auspices of the HRCP and Tribal Reforms and Development Forum in collaboration with the Fata Legal Reforms Committee.
The day-long meeting was attended by representatives of various political and social organizations. The participants of the moot urged the government to bring about desirable changes in the century-old British era law in accordance with the customs and aspiration of the tribal people.
While changes and amended were introduced in various laws of the country, the FCR had not been amended for the last 103 years, the participants lamented. The participants of the meeting observed that Article 247 of the Constitution be immediately amended, enabling the tribesmen to have right of appeal in the superior courts of the country.
They also demanded that parliament be empowered to make legislation for Fata. Article 247 of the Constitution debars the superior courts of the country to accept appeals against the FCR.
The speakers unanimously decided to establish a liaison with recently formed Senate Committee for reforming the FCR and also called upon its members to take into account the aspirations of common tribesmen while recommending changes in the FCR.
Majority of the participants, however, rejected the outright scrapping of the FCR as was suggested by some participants. The abolition of the FCR would result in chaos and deterioration of the law and order situation in tribal areas, they observed.
The meeting unanimously called upon the government to check the powers of political administrations in tribal areas and also put a limit to the use of Collective Responsibility clause of the FCR.
This clause of the century-old regulation was grossly misused by the political authorities in recent days in all the seven tribal agencies. The moot was addressed by its convener Asad Afridi, members of the Fata Reforms Committee Mohammad Jan Orakzai, Wali Jan, Iqbal Khyberwal and Shamsul Qamar Shams, Khyber Agency Awami National Party President Abdur Rahim Afridi, Fata Tehrik-i-Insaf Chief Organizer Javed Afridi, Tribal Union of Journalists president Sailab Masood and Khyber Union Chairman Bazar Gul.