Avoid politics on sensitive issues

ALMOST all opposition parties are, these days, boycotting proceedings of the ongoing session of the National Assembly on the issue of FATA reforms. Federal Minister Abdul Qadir and Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Sartaj Aziz, who headed the FATA Reforms Committee, announced presentation of a bill that would have extended jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and High Court to FATA and the bill was scheduled to be introduced on Monday but change of heart on part of the government, apparently under pressure from its allies JUI (F) and PkMAP, has led to strong reaction from the Opposition.
The issue is being agitated by some political forces out of proportion ostensibly for the sake of electoral benefits in KP and FATA. JI Chief Sirajul Haq organised a long march and has now threatened to hold a mammoth sit-in on December 31 if the government failed to take measures for merger of FATA with KP by the deadline. Apart from agitating the issue on floor of the National Assembly, Leader of the Opposition Syed Khurshid Shah also expressed symbolic solidarity with protestors on Tuesday. Similarly, PTI leader Imran Khan has demanded of the government to table a full package of reforms before the National Assembly. It is quite clear that objective of the protests on the issue is nothing but building pressure on the government which is already being squeezed by different forces on various issues. Otherwise, it is known to all that it was PML (N) Government, which formed Sartaj-led Committee that has come out with solid recommendations for gradual and phased merger of FATA with KP and the government has already approved its recommendations. It is not a one step issue, otherwise previous PPP government, which mulled over different proposals for five years, would have taken the credit during its tenure. There are constitutional, legal, administrative and economic issues involved and these have to be taken care of. Similarly, the government is facing issues with its allies, as it cannot afford to antagonise them at this stage when it is already facing many hostile factors and forces. There are reports that the Prime Minister has invited parliamentary leaders for a breakfast meeting and hopefully this as well as the issue of delimitation of constituencies would be sorted out through consultative process in the interest of the country.