West and East Africa linked by OIC rail project

Updated 25 November 2017
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West and East Africa linked by OIC rail project

JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) announced on Thursday its plans for the Dakar-Port Sudan rail network project, which will link West and East Africa.
Ambassador Hameed Opeloyeru, OIC assistant secretary general for economic affairs, announced an alliance with the African Union as the sponsor of the Dakar-Djibouti transport project, which is similar to the OIC scheme.
He was delivering a speech on behalf of Yousef Al-Othaimeen, OIC secretary-general, during a session in Istanbul on the sidelines of the 33rd meeting of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC).
Opeloyeru said that ensuring the continued engagement of regional organizations — the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) — as part of OIC’s Dakar-Port Sudan railroad network project would help to implement regional projects along the OIC transport corridor of the Dakar-Port Sudan railroad while addressing the challenges that may impede financing the project.
He said that the OIC aims to strengthen its cooperation with non-States members — such as China — to ensure their participation in the Dakar-Port Sudan rail project through contributing to capacity building and providing entrepreneurs and business owners with financial support. It wanted to ensure that the project would be a meeting point with China’s Silk Road transport infrastructure project, “One way – one belt.”
“This multi-stakeholder approach will further increase the engagement of state members involved in OIC’s Dakar-Port Sudan railroad project, which will serve as a multimodal transport corridor and will encourage stakeholders to actively participate in its implementation,” he said.
The Dakar-Port Sudan railroad project, which OIC unveiled during the Islamic Summit held in Dakar in March 2008, extends over 10,100 km and is one of the largest development projects aiming to improve trade exchange and the economies of African OIC members.
The railroad will pass through seven African countries: Sudan, Chad, Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal. It will also connect Gambia, West Guinea and Libya in the north, Cameroon in the center, and Uganda in the south to improve trade exchange and the transport network linking East and West Africa.
The railroad will help the moving of goods from East Africa to the Americas, from West Africa to Asia, and from across Africa to North Europe through Gibraltar, in addition to serving as an access to the sea for four countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger. It will also provide land transport services to the people living in the cities along the continent.
The project will help to achieve development goals including the OIC’s Programme of Action for the next decade (2016-2025) and the United Nation’s sustainable development goals.


Federally Administered Tribal Areas is all set to move from colonial laws to Pakistan constitution

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly is due to hold a session on 27 May to give its approval to the constitutional amendment passed by the National Assembly and the Senate of Pakistan for the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and KP provinces. FATA has been ruled under the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), a set of laws imposed by the British in 1901. (AP)
Updated 26 May 2018
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Federally Administered Tribal Areas is all set to move from colonial laws to Pakistan constitution

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly is due to hold a session next week to give its approval to the constitutional amendment passed by the National Assembly and the Senate of Pakistan for the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and KP provinces.

The KP government spokesman and lawmaker, Shaukat Yousafzai, said the KP Assembly would hold its session on on May 27. “During the session, we plan to discuss an amendment to let Malakand division remain a tax-free zone, although the merger plan mentions it as a tax zone.”

After the provincial assembly’s approval, the bill will go to the president of Pakistan, who will issue an executive order for the KP-FATA merger.

“Once the president issues the executive order, the political agents will become deputy commissioners and the levies personnel will take the role of police. Other bureaucrats can also be transferred and all this is possible within a month,” Shaukat said.


He added, however, that the future of the Frontier Constabulary is still uncertain. “The Frontier Constabulary is a force meant for Frontier Regions (FRs). It is yet to be decided whether they will also be made a regular police force or not,” he said.

The FATA Director of Information Secretariat, Abdul Salam Wazir, said that changing the roles of bureaucracy there plus postings and transfers can be done without much delay, "but some issues, such as land revenue records that do not exist in FATA at the moment, may take years," he added.

Rahim Shah Afridi, FATA Lawyers' Forum president, said that though the provincial assembly election would be held after one year and though preparing revenue records might take even more years, the major focus should nevertheless be on FATA development schemes.

“Our main concern now should be the 100-billion-rupee fund to be given to FATA so that it is used transparently for the area’s development,” he said.

FATA has been ruled under the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), a set of laws imposed by the British in 1901. The FCR gives all executive and judicial powers to the political administration of FATA under this law.

The FCR continued to exist in FATA after Pakistan was created in 1947.

During the Cold War, FATA was the main source of Afghan and Arab fighters during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. FATA witnessed a great deal of violence after 2002 and when the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) emerged in the tribal belt, that prompted military operations by the Pakistan Army.