PESHAWAR: Just like the floor closing of the Stock Exchange of Pakistan, the floor of the Senate seats of FATA reportedly closed at Rs 600 million, the share of per member out of the total nine-member group of Parliamentarians put in the shared pool was Rs 666666666.66. Keeping its tradition the price of FATA Senate seats again takes lead than the rest of the country, although the world is watching intensely the Tribal Areas due to one reason or another.
FATA Parliamentarians pay very little attention to the Tribal Areasâ€™ problems but they have worked very hard for upcoming Senate elections to secure their share of the pie. For the four seats of Senate big game was planned and the winner in this group was led Haji Munir Jan Aurakzai and it included nine members of National Assembly. Munir Jan Aurakzai was given the Senate Seat unconditionally for his services he has rendered for his fellow members of Parliament belonging to the Tribal Areas.
Zafar Baig Betani, member National Assembly, was the first to declare that his vote for Senate was for sale only on cash basis and that he had no other demands and so the game was left for other eight members of National Assembly to decide.
The toughest competition among the FATA members was for Khyber Agency. On the one hand it was Hamid Ullah Afridi and on the other it was Pir Noor Ul Haq Qadri. Hamid Ullah told his fellow FATA parliamentarians that he faces serious life and financial threats from Mengal Bagh, who has even threatened him on his FM radio station that he would only be allowed to keep his salary of National Assembly and beside that all the funds he had received as member of Parliament and as Federal Minister should be returned to Mengal Bagh.
On the other hand Pir Noor Ul Haq Qadri said that as many of his family members had been killed by the militants therefore it was his right that Senate seat should be allotted to him. So it was decided that Pir Noor Ul Haq Qadri should be given Senate seat and if Mengal Bagh demanded money from Hamid Ullah Afridi, each of the nine parliamentarians would contribute Rs 50 million each totalling Rs 450 million to be handed over to Mengal Bagh.
Jawad Hussain belongs to Shiite sect from Orakzai Agency, his brother has been given Senate seat. Engineer Shaukat Ullah from Bajaur Agency reportedly gave the same prize for the nomination of his brother Hidayat Ullah for Senate seat.
It is pertinent to note that FATA has 12 MNAs and four Senators. Out of 12 MNAs one seat is vacant leaving the number to 11. In order to have a simple majority seven MNAs are required. Is it fair that seven MNAs decide the fate of the entire population of Tribal Areas keeping in view the destruction going on there for the last decade?
Above all the same parliamentarians who had elected the Senators in 2009 are going to elect the Senators again. In 2009, each Senate seat was reportedly sold for Rs 150 million each.
Now let us see who are some of the parliamentarians who would be electing the FATA Senators. To begin with, Mr Munir Jan Aurakzai who has taken oath as â€œAmeenâ€ to protect our motherland, stated several times on media that he did not take a single penny during last Senate elections, whereas in Gulbahar Police Station Peshawar, reports have been registered by both Munir Aurakzai and Idrees Safi accusing each other of giving and taking money. Photocopies of cheques have also been made part of those reports in the said Police station.
Hamid Ullah Afridi, another â€œAmeenâ€ of protecting our motherland, during 2009 Senate elections had sidelined himself from voting giving reasons that he had differences with his group, but the reality was that he wanted to hide Rs 150 million he had reportedly taken in 2009 Senate elections for his vote and he wanted to hide that money from Mengal Bagh. But when Mengal Bagh ordered him to appear in his self-claimed â€œCourtâ€ in 2009, he as a federal minister with the permission of higher authorities went to appear in Mengal Bagh â€œCourtâ€. After paying Rs 75 million and being kept hostage for five hours he was released by Mengal Bagh. Those five hours were very tense for the government machinery.
Zafar Baig Betani, another â€œAmeenâ€ was a famous Xian in provincial government and a NAB convict. He contested the 2008 elections by getting a stay order from Peshawar High Court, whereas on October 25, 2011 a division bench of the Peshawar High Court convicted him and sent him to Peshawar jail. He has recently been released by the Supreme Court on bail, whereas his case is still pending. But still he will be casting vote for the Senate seat and this is how the people of FATA have been left at the mercy of such individuals to decide their fate.
Jawad Hussain, parliamentarian from Parachinar and â€œAmeenâ€ is reportedly a fake degree holder. He is so talented that he did his BA first and then FA and to seek knowledge he went all the way to Balochistan to do his BA.
After Higher Education Commission unearthed his fake BA degree and his picture was flashed on Tv screens, he hired the services of famous lawyer of the Lawyers Movement, Athar Minallah, to rescue him and surely he did by getting him a stay order from the Honourable Balochistan High Court. That stay order is still pending in Balochistan High Court. Jawad Hussain is probably the only parliamentarian who can neither read nor write English. He will also be voting in coming Senate elections to decide the fate of the millions poor and proud people of Tribal Areas.
Kamran Khan, another Parliamentarian who took oath as â€œAmeenâ€ is the only parliamentarian who had the guts to admit openly on famous tv show that he along with other parliamentarians took Rs 150 million each in last Senate elections. To his bad luck, after winning elections in 2008, the gentleman whom he had taken money from that he had promised to give him Senate seat in 2009 elections, after being unable to give him the seat, the said gentleman took the matter to local Taliban leaders in Waziristan for the return of his money. Kamran returned him the agreed amount and the same person confirmed this on Tv show along with his account number where the money was deposited.
Bilal Rehman, belonging to Mohmand Agency who also took oath as â€œAmeenâ€ in 2008, was underage and with the help of high-ups record of NADRA was altered to accommodate him. Another story related to him is that he had raised huge hue and cry in the National Assembly over National ID cards being given to Afghans and in particular the â€œHazarbuzâ€ tribe of Afghans, stating that the Hazarbuz are neither Pakistanis nor from his tribal agency Mohmand and that all being done is fake and that certain individuals are making money from Hazarbuz. But when chief of Hazarbuz tribe, Haji Zarab Gul, gave him a lavish trip to Europe and America and certain other benefits, Bilal Rehman went quiet and never raised the issue again. This issue is still pending before the National Assembly Standing Committee.
Keeping in view the importance of Tribal Areas and the international attention it would be wrong for the government to decide the fate of millions of Tribal people through such individuals. It is high time that Supreme Court take notice of this issue which is going to affect the lives of millions of people.