ISLAMABAD: Following an over eight-month long extensive consultative process, the FATA Reforms Committee has put forth four options for FATA transformation which include maintaining of the status quo with minor changes, granting special status to FATA like Gilgit-Baltistan, creating a separate province for FATA, or a merger into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. In his capacity as the chairman of the reforms committee, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Thursday unveiled recommendations aimed at brining an end to endemic poverty and years of neglect in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Talking to newsmen at a press conference on Thursday, Sartaj said that the region had been facing Pakistan’s highest rate of endemic poverty and lowest development indicators, with its people facing huge deficit of human rights. Integrating FATA into KP made more sense keeping in view the close horizontal linkages of agencies and frontier regions with the adjacent KP districts. These trade and economic links were also reinforced by social and cultural consanguinity with FATA tribes, the committee recommendations said. The committee also favoured repealing the existing Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) with the new “Tribal Areas Rewaj Act” and the Jirga system. Responding to a question, SAFRON Minister Abdul Qadir Baloch said that during the consultations all stakeholders expressed unanimity on the “Rewaj Act”, terming it part of their age-old tradition. However, he dispelled the impression that it would be in conflict with the existing laws. He said the provisions relating to collective responsibility in the FCR would be omitted in the new act, thereby making an individual responsible for his own acts. Under this act, the judge will not be the political agent but will be a judicial officer; while the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and High Court shall stand extended to FATA, he added. The Jirga system will remain prevalent in criminal and civil disputes, while it was also proposed to codify the “Rewaj” in each agency. The committee also proposed to carry out land settlement in FATA so that this land asset can be capitalised to release locked up funds. A statement issued after the press conference said the FATA reforms would be meaningful only once the Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs) return home and assisted to reconstruct their property damaged during the operations, besides other infrastructure. The committee proposed holding of local bodies elections in 2017. To ensure availability of adequate resources for development of FATA on a long term basis, 3 percent share from the divisible pool has been proposed which would be in addition to the existing annual development allocation of Rs 21 billion a year. Sartaj said new posts of 20,000 Levies would be created for policing, while better border management with Afghanistan shall be enforced with the addition of additional Frontier Corp and improved surveillance. He said it was also proposed to end the collection of toll taxes – “the rahdari and permit system” – in the agencies that resulted in increasing costs and corruption. He said a “governor’s advisory council” including all parliamentarians would be established to advise the governor in development and administrative matters. The Directorate of Transition and Reforms, established at the FATA Secretariat, will deliver the package of reforms and a cabinet level committee will be formed to oversee implementation of the reforms, he said, adding that a reform unit would be established in SAFRON to oversee the entire process. The six-member FATA Reforms Committee includes Sartaj Aziz as chairman and KP Governor Zafar Iqbal Jhagra, Abdul Qadir Baloch, Law Minister Zahid Hamid, National Security Adviser Nasser Khan Janjua and SAFRON Secretary Muhammad Shehzad Arbab as its members.