Introduction of FATA, issues and recommendations
By Zar ali khan musazai
Introduction of FATA:-
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan are areas bordering Afghanistan, outside the four provinces, comprising a region of some 27,220 km² (10,507 sq mile. The area has Afghanistan to the north-west, NWFP to the east and Balochistan to the south.
The Tribal Areas comprise seven Agencies, namely Khyber, Kurram, Bajaur, Mohmand , Orakzai, North and South areas of Waziristan and six FRs (Frontier Regions) namely FR Peshawar, FR Kohat, FR Tank, FR Banuu, FR Lakki and FR Dera Ismail Khan. According to Census of Pakistan 1998, its total population is said to be 3.3 million while the intellectual and political circles of FATA critisises it saying that FATA has a population more than 10 million.
FATA is governed by the Frontier Crimes Regulation(FCR) introduced in 1901 under the British Government of India. It is represented both in Pakistan's lower house and in its upper house of parliament. Previously, tribal candidates had no party affiliations and could contest as independents, because the Political Parties Act had not extended to the tribal areas. However, tribesmen were given right to vote in the 1997 general elections despite the absence of a Political Parties Act.
The head of each tribal Agency is the Political Agent. The Political Agent wields extensive powers.The political agents are widely considered corrupt.Each Agency, depending on its size, has about 2 to 3 Assistant Political Agents, about 3 to 4 Tehsildars and 4 to 9 Naib Tehsildars with the requisite supporting staff. Each FR is headed by the DCO . Under his supervision there is one Assistant Political Agent and about 1 or 2 Tehsildars and Naib Tehsildars, as well as supporting staff. Each Agency has roughly 2 to 3 thousand Khasadars and levies and 5 to 9 Wings of FC for maintenance of law and order in the Agency and borders security.
FATA is the most impoverished part of the Pakistan, with a per capita income of only half the national average of $500 in 2008 and only 34% of households managing to rise above poverty level.
The formation of the seven Agencies and six FRs is as follows. Among all the agencies the Khyber is the first one which was formed in 1879 followed by Kurram and then North And South Waziristan Agencies respectively.
Agencis Year of formation
North Wazirstan 1896
South Wazirstan 1896
FRs attached to the districts of NWFP, are:
1. FR Peshawar
2. FR Kohat
3. FR Bannu
4. FR D.K.Khan
5. FR Tank
6. FR Lakki
Only orakzai is an agency which has no border with Afghanistan. FRs have border with Agencies and districts.
After British annexation Present NWFP in 1849, it followed a closed, door policy in its relations with borderland tribes’ .Non-aggression on the tribal territory and non-interference in internal tribal affairs were declared objectives of this policy.
However, in 19th century a change was witnessed when the concept of Forward Policy” was adopted. The thrust of this policy resulted in permanent occupation of Khyber Pass followed by Gomal Zam and Tochi Valley (1889-90), occupation of samana in 1891 and Kurran Valley in 1892 followed by other annexations. The motive was strategic i-e defending the British Empire from any possible Russian advance by creating a tribal buffer. British were only motivated by strategic considerations and they had no interest in changing the lot of the tribes.
In 1901-the then four districts, Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu and D.I Khan and the then Agencies of Khyber, North and South Waziristan, and Malakand together with FRs managed by Deputy Commissioners were formerly incorporated in NWFP ruled by chief Commissioner as Agent to the Governer-General. The law of 1872 called Frontier crimes Regulation (FCR) enacted in Mianwali and cambellpur (Attock) and some parts of NWFP, was promulgated in NWFP with some amendments.
Since the creation of Pakistan in 1947,three new agencies have been formed from the existing tribal areas, some small scale developmental work in the field of social sector has been done in the early British opened Regions, Quota has been fixed for the educated youth in the professional colleges and in civil services, no other worthwhile developmental measure has been taken to change the plight of the people in FATA. Only those measures have been taken which either helped the bureaucracy or were in the interest of the tribal elites.
Issues and impediments in the way of development in FATA
1. Constitution of 1956.formally abolished FCR in NWFP, but left enforced in the tribal areas.
2. The out-dated Malik system
3. FATA members elected by people of FATA can not legislate for FATA and all the laws passed in the parliament do not apply to FATA.
4. FATA has no representation in provincial assembly.
5. Women and Minority are deprived of representation unlike rest of the country.
6. There is no representation of technocrat for FATA in NA and Senate
7. Absence of local bodies’ election.
8. There are elites who amassed wealth through legal and illegal trade, or those serving or retired bureaucrats who themselves live in cities of the settled districts and avail almost all the modern amenities and privileges on behalf of their tribes, but because of their influence with Govt, Political Parties, Media etc, in general, due to their wealth and position, are opposed to any change in the present status of FATA.
9. Absence of all civil laws
10. Lack of credible monitoring system in FATA.
11. According to constitution of Pakistan 1973, FATA is the part of Pakistan but people of FATA have not been given all rights a civilized person has in a civilized society.
12. Political parties act is not extended to FATA.
13. Publication Act does not exist in FATA there fore no one is entitled to publish a newspaper or a journal in FATA.
14. Political Parties are banned in FATA while extremist religious parties are allowed to do what they want with the people of FATA.
15. There exists a problem of the land settlement in FATA.
16. In the presence of FCR Political Agent is having more power than a king in the past.
17. Supreme Court and High Court have no jurisdiction in FATA.
18. Jirga is said to have been corrupted.
19. Extremism and militancy have reached to the point that more than half of the total population has migrated to comparatively safer places in settled districts of the Province.
20. Economy and business activities are destroyed due to out-dated system and purportedly military ongoing war against terrorists.
21. Education system in FATA has been completely destroyed and the schools especially those of the girls have been either bombed or ruthlessly bulldozed by the so-called terrorists.
22. Girls are not allowed to go to schools without male member of the family. They are frequently threatened to be killed or abducted.
23. Abduction for ransom is on rise.
24. People especially students and girls have become mentally and psychologically patient due to tension and depression. Most of the people are heart patients.
25. Mobility has been badly affected in FATA.
1. Repeal the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) 1901 in its entirety, replacing it with Pakistan’s Criminal Procedure Code, in accordance with Article 8 of the constitution and internationally accepted human rights standards, including prohibition of collective punishment.
2. Extend full provincial rights to FATA by merging it with NWFP, in turn (will of FATA People is must)
a) Merging all the six FRs with adjacent settled districts.
b) Allocating seats for FATA’s seven tribal agencies in NWFP’s provincial assembly, with constituencies delimited by population, and devised after extensive consultations with stakeholders;
c) Allowing the NWFP Provincial Assembly and the National Assembly of Pakistan to legislate FATA policy;
d) Eliminating the role of Tribal jirgas to hear civil and criminal cases, and establishing civil and criminal courts at the Tehsil and Agency levels, presided over by civil and criminal judges;
e) Allowing defendants the right to legal representation and appeal to higher courts, and extending the jurisdiction of the Peshawar High Court and the Supreme Court to FATA.
f) Abolishing the FATA secretariat, and the office of the political agent, and transferring their authority to the NWFP secretariat, relevant provincial line ministries and district departments.
4. Disband Khassadars (Tribal Police) and levies (Official Tribal Militias) and absorb their members, after requisite training, into the NWFP police force, while strengthening the capacity of civilian law enforcement agencies to maintain law and order in the tribal agencies and the bordering Frontier Regions as well as NWFP’s settled districts.
5. Encourage private investment and economic growth by:
a) Developing the physical structure of the tribal agencies, including viable road networks, farm-to-market roads as well as energy and irrigation projects;
b) Facilitating interest-free loans and removing restrictions on lending to FATA residents;
c) Enabling private asset formation by implementing land reforms to partition collectively owned property and establish legal individual ownership through a transparent process, enforceable by regular courts.
d) Education system in FATA should be given top priority to bring FATA students at par with students of other parts of the country.
6. Afghanistan and Pakistan cordial relation is the base for the peace and Development in FATA. Positive and Constructive steps should be taken by both governments to make the relations cordial and friendly.
7. All NGOs and CSOs should be allowed to work for the social and economic change in FATA.
8. All camps of extremists and militants should be eliminated from FATA.
9. Political Parties act should be extended to FATA and ban on political activities should be lifted.
10. All rights which a civilized human being has should be given to FATA People.
( The writer is the secretary General Tribal Development Forum)