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  Reforms in FCR await president's approval, court told.

The Peshawar High Court on Thursday disposed of a writ petition challenging the colonial era law of Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) as a representative of federal government stated that the summary for reforming the law had already been okayed by the federal cabinet and now it awaited approval by the president. The deputy attorney general, Muzamil Khan, stated that a high-level cabinet committee was earlier constituted which had recommended various amendments in the FCR including section 21 dealing with “collective responsibility” of a tribe or individual.

The petition was filed by the Human Rights Commission of South Asia through its Pakistan’s Correspondent Syed Muhammad Iqbal Kazmi and its Correspondent for NWFP/Fata, Advocate Abdul Samad Khan Marwat, requesting the court that the residents of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) be equated with other citizens of the country.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Pir Liaqat Ali disposed of the petition observing that the government had already decided to introduce reforms in the law. During course of proceedings Justice Dost Muhammad observed that the tribal areas had been kept backward intentionally. The bench observed that there was no medical college or university in the tribal areas despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of people resided there. “While parliamentarians have been elected from Fata, but they could not legislate for their areas. The colonial rulers had introduced the FCR for controlling the tribal areas,” Justice Dost Muhammad observed.