KHYBER AGENCY – The tribesmen welcome the extension of local bodies system to Fata, saying that the system will lead to development and prosperity in the tribal belt.

They declared it a need of hour and success of the democratic forces and said that the new local bodies system would put Fata on track of development. Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Fata chapter, Naib Ameer Zarnoor Afridi lauded the step of the government to involve tribesmen on gross root level electoral process but expressed certain reservations on the draft and said that if the government is sincere to empower the tribal men it should introduce the local bodies system in true essence.

Counting its flaws, he said nomination of 25 per cent seats by the governor have been reserved for traders, labours, women and farmers etc, however the extension of the new system to the whole agency (urban and rural areas) were few of it. He further said that limited power has been granted to the elected member and bureaucracy has been made more powerful, which is an attempt of failure of the new system, the political administration should be made answerable to the elected members, he suggested. Afridi flayed the imposition of taxes in the system and said that huge portion of population of the tribesmen were serving their lives below poverty line therefore tribal should be exempted of it.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Fata organiser Dr Bashir while commented on the local bodies system said that the tribal men should be included in the mainstream for the provision of conveniences being providing to the rest of the masses of the country. Since the creation of Pakistan, the Fata has been made as laboratory and the government makes new experiments from time to time.

President Awami National Party (ANP), Khyber Agency chapter, Shah Hussein said, “We appreciated the new system and will make further stronger the democratic process in the tribal area. With extension of local bodies’ election, the problems of the people will be solved on gross root level but said that it should be lengthening to the whole of Fata. He criticized certain clause of the system and said that the elected body was made subordinate of Political agent, which need to be review.

Member National Assembly (MNA) Bajur agency, Akhunzada Chattan commented that, corruption in development works, a long lasting allegation against concern departments of the tribesmen will be solved with introduction of local bodies’ election as the competent people will be elected and assign duties of uplift schemes and funds will never be wasted.

Malik Darya Khan Zekha khel said that it was a positive step taken by the government regarding uplift of tribal belt. Every eligible person would have the right and opportunity to be elected freely through democratic way and serve community, he observed.

It is worth mentioning here that local bodies system extended for the first time to Fata on 14th August, last month will be put into practice from the next year.