ISLAMABAD: The Upper House of the Parliament, Friday, was told that replies to questions asked by the Senators were not furnished by FATA Secretariat. It was sheer negation of Parliamentary oversight as well as deprivation of representation of FATA people.
Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) while replying to questions asked by the members in ‘Question Hour’ said that Ministry had no control over FATA Secretariat and all powers in this regard rested with Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Engineer Shaukat Ullah said that FATA Secretariat was established in November, 2007 by then dictator General President Pervez Musharraf in accordance with provisions of Article 247 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan to function as the Local Administration for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, through an SRO.
“This SRO now required to be repealed to provide relief to the FATA people and only President Asif Ali Zardari can withdraw this SRO” he added.
The Minister maintained that the official business in FATA Secretariat was being conducted in accordance with rules formulated and approved by the Governor, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who also ensured that the administration in FATA was carried out in conformity with the policies laid down and the directives issued by the Federal Government from time to time.
He observed that SAFRON Ministry as the administrative Division for FATA discharged its responsibilities including consultation with other Ministries of the Government wherever necessary, and represents Local Administration of these areas (FATA Secretariat) before the National Assembly and the Senate.
“Other responsibilities of Ministry also include liaison with the Economic Affairs Division, foreign donors and lending agencies for external assistance for the development of these areas” he told.
He observed that FATA Secretariat was authorized to correspond directly with the Federal Government Departments; however, they required endorsement copies of all communications to Ministry of SAFRON to keep the Ministry abreast of the development of the FATA.
However, over the no submission of replies to the questions asked by the members, Chairman Senate Nayyar Hussain Bokhari asked the Leader of the House Jahangir Badar to hold talks with concerned officials to realize them that FATA Secretariat was answerable to the Parliament.
Some members also raised point of charging toll tax (Chungi) from all the commodities going into FATA and demanded of the government to make arrangements for its withdrawal as it made all necessary commodities expensive and costlier.
The Minister Engineer Shaukatullah assured the House to call on President Asif Ali Zardari for withdrawal of SRO issued by General Pervez Musharraf on independent status of FATA Secretariat and removal of toll tax (Chungi) on all goods moving to FATA.