Musharraf to appoint political agents in FATA
In the wake of deteriorating situation in Waziristan, Prez has decided to appoint military men as political agencts in Federally Administered Tribal Areas.india Updated: May 10, 2006 13:35 IST
Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf has decided to appoint political agents in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) from the civil and military services.
At a meeting organised at Rawalpindi House in wake of the deteriorating situation in Waziristan, Musharraf said that empowering the political agent's office in FATA would ensure speedy development of the tribal areas.
It would also ensure better co-ordination between the political administration, military authorities and the NWFP governor's office, he added.
He said efforts should be made to upgrade FATA's political system and infrastructure for which local residents should be involved in the political process.
"The involvement of local residents in the political process would diminish the hold foreign elements have on the area. Militants do not want the area to prosper," said Musharraf, adding that economic progress in backward areas would help flush out militants and for this reason it was essential that federal paramilitary troops remain in the area.
Officials said the meeting also decided to deal sternly with terrorists so that they do not hinder the area's development process.
"Anyone trying to destabilise the law and order will be dealt with sternly. Tribal areas would be made hub of economic activities to raise the living standards of people there. Economic zones will be established in co-operation with the US and products prepared there will be exported to US markets," Musharraf said, adding that the government would spend up to Rs 10 billion on FATA's development.
Financial allocation would be utilised to alleviate poverty and create more jobs, he said.
Officials said the meeting attended by Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, NWFP Governor Khalilur Rehman, Federal Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao and other officials from the intelligence agencies also approved the doubling of the salaries of FATA's political administration officials.
Sources said the meeting decided to plug the existing loopholes in the system, however adding that no major changes were to be made to the administrative structure there.
While greater co-ordination was needed between the offices of the NWFP governor and the political agents, any proposal to make the military subordinate to the political administrations was rejected as it was felt it might only complicate the situation in the tribal areas, reports the Daily Times.
Earlier it was decided that the federal government might make the military subordinate to the political administration in FATA to pave way for speedy development in the region.
The meeting also rejected abolishing existing levies in tribal areas.
"The Levies and Khasadar Force will continue to operate till the formation of a new security agency," said an official.