ISLAMABAD  - Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions Let. Gen (Retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch on Monday announced that government was planning to give status of province to FATA on Gilgit and Baltistan model.

“We are working on a proposal to make a tribal council in FATA, which will have 30-40 members from different agencies,” Baloch said this while talking to Jirga members from FATA at his Ministry. “This council will be headed by a chief minister and he will have three to four ministers under him,” he explained.

Baloch said that the chief minister would coordinate with his ministry for funds and other affairs. He said that proposal was ready and as soon as the prime minister approves it, its implementation would be started. Baloch admitted that FATA was worst hit by the war against terrorism and the problems of FATA residents should be resolved on urgent basis.

He said that FATA should also be given share in the NFC awards and locals should be given jobs.  “On grade sixteen and below, jobs should be given to FATA residents only, if no local qualifies for higher grades jobs then only staff should be hired from outside the area,” he said.

He criticised the prevailing system in FATA and said that political agent was very powerful and was under the influence of Army.

He said that earlier political agents were governing with the help of Malik and Mashar but now that system was abolished and political agents were making decisions under the influence of Army officers attached with them.

He reiterated that local body elections should be held in FATA so that locals could have participation in decision-making process. He also admitted that flaws were existed in the Frontier Crimes Regulations FCR.

The jirga members were from different political parties, including Jamaat Islami, PPPP, ANP and PML-N.

Earlier, the members discussed the problems of their areas and presented a ten points agenda. The top demand was holding peace in FATA along with holding local body elections, share in NFC award and providing jobs to locals.

The members informed the minister that there was no law in FATA and political agent was the authority to make and implement law. Unhappy with the system, they complained of corruption by the political agents, which was, according to them, multiplying miseries of the FATA residents, already worn out from fighting war on terror from the last many years.