‘Fanatics getting 50% young blood from South Punjab’ – by Mahtab Bashir

ISLAMABAD: Half of the youth being recruited by religious militants are from South Punjab, claimed a speaker at a dialogue on Monday.

“Religious militant outfits are engaging 50 per cent young people for terror acts in the country from South Punjab, 40 per cent from the Frontier, nine per cent from Sindh and one per cent from Balochistan,” said Asad Rehman, of Sungi, an NGO, during a consultation on ‘Development in FATA: Opportunities and Challenges’.

Rehman pushed the FATA people for initiating a campaign to demand constitutional rights for themselves equal to other citizens of the country. Noor Muhammad, a political activist from FATA, said the government didn’t issue the region proper development funds and even curtailed the pronounced funding. Funds mismanagement: He said FATA didn’t get due share in resources and almost 30 to 40 percent of the allocated funding was ‘mismanaged’ by local political and administrative leadership.

Muhammad said the option to make FATA a separate province or merge it with the NWFP should be left with the people of the region. “We’ll decide about the option but before that enforcement of Political Parties’ Act and establishment of regular judiciary in the area is necessary,” he said. MNA Shaukatullah said the Frontier Crime Regulations (FCR) was no sacred document and could be amended and even done away with if required. He said FATA should be governed as provinces were being done.

Ayesha Gullala, of Pakistan People’s Party, criticised the US AFPAK policy and blame the FATA troubles on Washington. She said the US and the western powers should immediately correct the FATA ‘problem’. She said the FCR should not be repealed but amended. Meraj Khan Afridi, a human rights activist, said government should take care of the internally displaced persons on an urgent basis otherwise they would be forced to settle across the country.

Mukaram Khan Atif, a FATA journalist, said government’s wrong policies and militancy had played havoc with FATA.


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