The people of FATA need development

Posted in Other | 23-Feb-09 | Author: Habib Malik Orakzai

I am happy to be among the speakers of the "The second FATA workshop". I would like to thank you Mr. Hubertus Hoffmann for giving us the opportunity to look towards the horizon as you said in your introductory statement.

As we enter the 21st century, we share a common responsibility to address a series of major development changes. Since the list is long I just want to highlight a few: political unrest, environmental disasters, some negative effects of globalisation and the threat of transnational organised crime. All of them require responses, which at the same time have to be universal and build on a solid geo-political foundation in accordance with the wide variety of humanitarian traditions.

In his opening statement Mr. Hoffmann referred to the role multilateral and regional organisations play in pursuing the goal of combating external threats and starting a grand base of social development. I would like to pick up this thread by taking stock of progress made so far in this region towards the objective of the creation of a revitalized and developed tribal belt which supports both Afghanistan and Pakistan for their long term developmental goals and the setting up of an area of freedom, security, and development. This objective intends to guarantee genuine free movement for all people residing in FATA while acknowledging that free movement is meaningful only in a secure environment, firmly rooted in a system that is democratic and well placed to cope with future challenges.

As the aim of the 2nd WSN FATA Workshop is to assess pilot projects for FATA & How to control the monetary flow?

In the current situation, FATA evokes feelings of an area where civilization is yet to enter. Where people are averse to any outside influence and criminal activities are common, rather protected and appreciated. The reality, however, is absolutely different. The people of this deprived region need, love, peace and development. Groaning under grinding poverty and lack of resources for a long time, they look up to the Government to pay due attention to their genuine needs to progress. They need schools, colleges, hospitals, roads and economic opportunities, like other people, to lead a respectable and secure life. An all encompassing development strategy can ensure the achievement of these goals and also act as a bulwark against the rising tide of extremism and militancy in the area. The geographical location of FATA should not become a disadvantage for the people rather it should be used as an opportunity for prosperity. An integrated and sustainable development strategy has to be followed to put FATA on the path of peace and stability which will invariably lead to prosperity and eradication of poverty. Keeping in view the following major projects are of most consideration are in process at some extend in collaboration with FATA secretariat and different foreign Donors.

PART-I: SOCIAL SECTORS

Education:

i) Scholarships for education in out-of-FATA institutions

ii) Establishment of Cadet Colleges in FATA

iii) Provision of missing facilities to schools in FATA

iv) Establishment of University of Engineering and Technology in FATA

v) Establishment of FATA Institute of Medical Sciences (FIMS) including health facilities i.e. hospitals, dispensaries.

PART-II: GREEN SECTORS:

Agriculture:

i) Productivity enhancement through mechanized agriculture farming in
FATA

Forestry:

i) Plantation of improved olive trees, conversion of wild olive trees into oil bearing varieties and their post management

ii) Establishment of wood lots and fruit orchards on terraces and their post management

PART-III: COMMUNICATIONS SECTOR

Roads and Bridges:

i) Construction of new roads in FATA

ii) Improvement of existing roads in FATA

iii) Construction of RCC bridges in FATA

iv) Construction of expressways Specially from Khar to Wana including Thall -Parachinar section

v) Improvement, widening and black topping of roads

PART-IV: IRRIGATION & POWER SECTORS

Irrigation:

i) Water resource development project in FATA Power

ii) Extension of village electrification coverage in FATA ii) Feasibility and construction of dams in different Agencies

iii) Provision of solar energy system in FATA

WHAT SHOULD AND WHY

It needs to be emphasized that any project proposed for FATA should not be judged on the normal cost-benefit criteria as the benefits of these projects are much more long term and diverse in comparison with projects undertaken elsewhere. The main objective of these projects is the uplift and development of an area which has lagged far behind the rest of the
country in terms of human and infrastructure development. An enabling environment has to be created for the people of FATA to realize their potential and become part of the mainstream of the country. Some of the initiatives/projects proposed in this Digest may not be feasible in terms of ensuring the normal economic and financial returns but are absolutely necessary if seen in the peculiar circumstances prevailing in FATA. The
development initiatives would not only provide incentives to the inhabitants of the area, but also act as an agent of change in transforming the social, political and economic spheres of the tribal society. These initiatives would carve a semblance of goodwill for the Government's cause in bringing people in its fold.

It is also crucial to highlight that these projects / program require to be implemented earnestly and expeditiously as only this will ensure the full benefits reaching the people. If not funded adequately it runs the risk of being reduced to a half-hearted effort bringing no tangible difference in the lives of the people and at the same time giving birth to disappointment and frustration. The successful implementation of these schemes will determine the future of FATA and its position in the world. Indeed it will decide how the world and the Government of Pakistan want to see the people of this backward area live in the twenty first century.

How to Separate Radical Minorities from Peaceful Majority

By Stopping Drone attacks:

Direct interference from US led allied forces in form of drone attacks are spreading hatred and intolerance towards west. Attacking and targeting the militant hideouts in FATA area, might have been the only choice left with allied forces, but , this offcourse , is not bringing the positive results , as it ends up in more collateral damage and less direct achievemnet. Killing of peaceful civilian population in region inflames the anti-US and anti-wester sentiments , making the environment more complex , conflicting and leaves smaller room for national miltray establishment to act accordingly in the region. Today, Pakistan army is facing more resistance from local peole and other militant factions due to increased drone attacks.

This direct intervention across the border is also adding towards the political instability of the newly elected democratic administration of PM Gilani, as parliament has passed a unanimous resolution against such attacks and high ups of present government always seem to apologetic on the matter which brings no good to the overall situation in terms of reaching towards a political consensus and agreement.

How to Control the Monetary Flow

The recent fast pace of development in FATA created a need for establishing external monitoring mechanisms which could provide means to learn from past experience, help in improving service delivery, assist in effective planning, allocating resources and demonstrating results as part
of accountability to key stakeholders. Keeping in view, a monitoring cell may be established in FATA as one developed in September 2006. It should be headed by a Director (an elective Senior Member from WSN) supported by deputy directors (elected members of WSN) specially related to social sector, infrastructure, green and Minerals.

The main functions of the cell should be to set up the M&E system linked with project design and annual planning by gathering, managing and communicating information and measuring impact of development.

Strategy:

  • Develop indicators for measuring inputs, activities, outputs, outcome and impacts for development project to be monitored.
  • Standardize project progress and implementation reporting framework.
  • Develop Management Information Systems.
  • Training of Line Departments on Monitoring Mechanisms
  • Develop schedule of periodic visit, reporting, follow ups and reviews
  • Conduct midterm / ongoing evaluation.
  • Monitoring of cell Indicators through MICS, Program Specific Surveys, Follow up surveys.
  • Involve external Audit from the very beginning for projects cost and expenditure processes.
  • Supervision of Steering committee having members from Government and Co-opted members from FATA would increase the transparency of work progress and Control the Monetary flow.

More than two centuries ago Immanuel Kant wrote that "Eternal peace should not remain a pure idea, if we take it as our duty and our hope to achieve step-by-step international law and regional security for sustainable development". Meeting the objective to create an area of freedom, security and development within the north-west of Pakistan will require consistent action by European and other international institutions and the rapid implementation of the objectives I presented today. It is not an easy task. But, looking back to the progress being made over the last five years and taking into consideration the constructive spirit of all actors concerned I am confident that we will finally reach our goal.

At the end I would add that the long-term peace is not possible in FATA until the NATO forces are present there. Hence, we should get the reasonable and acceptable solution as development and related activities are not possible without peaceful and secure environment.

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