ACCORDING to Articles 1 and 2 of the 1973 Constitution, the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (Fata) are a part of Pakistan. However, according to Articles 51, 59 and 247, it is under the direct executive of the president.
Articles 8 to 28 deal with the fundamental rights of the citizen. If any of this right is violated then the judiciary will protect it from violation. However, it is very strange that being ‘citizen’ of the country, the people of Fata are deprived of all these fundamental rights in violation of articles 8-28 of the constitution. Fata is still being ruled under the British-made Frontier Crime Regulation (FCR) of 1901, which violates the fundamental rights of the tribal people.
The law states that three basic rights are not applicable to Fata residents, appeal, wakeel and daleel. Similarly other FCR articles violate the fundamental rights of the citizens of this area. Clause 21 deals with collective punishment and under section 22-23, fines are imposed on the entire tribe/family for the crime of a single person.
The KP and Balochistan high courts call the FCR illegal. Several committees were set up by governments for reforms but to no avail. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif set up a five-member committee headed by Mr Sartaj Aziz more than two months ago but the committee is yet to deliver.
The Fata people request that article 247 (7) of the constitution be amended and the courts’ jurisdiction be extended to Fata. In this regard PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar, moved a bill in the senate. I sincerely hope the government takes measures to rid the tribal areas people of a brutal colonial era black law.
Rafi ud din Mehsud
South Waziristan Agency, Fata
THE Federally Administrated Tribal Areas of Pakistan is a unique set-up that has lost its relevance and usefulness. The area is managed under a very rigid and ancient set of black laws called Frontiers Crimes Regulations (FCR) that were developed in 1877and implemented by the British. The solution is straightforward.
The people of Fata also be given the same rights and privileges as the rest of Pakistan. The Fata region should be merged into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as its people are already integrated into KP. Most of them live, study and work in KP and travel to their homes over the holidays. Businessmen from Fata have invested heavily in KP and all businesses in Fata are supplied from KP. Even the government projects in Fata are managed by KP officers and many Fata officers are stationed and trained in KP.
The people of Fata are keen that there should be no delay in Fata’s merger with KP and the abolition of the FCR law.
In my humble opinion since some Fata areas have become a hotbed for insurgent groups, creating security problems for Pakistan, abolishing the FCR and enforcing Pakistani law in Fata are important for Pakistan’s internal security.
With the implementation of rule of law, the Pakistan Army can create specialised border security forces, to be stationed in Fata’s border areas through newly created army cantonments. This will also provide jobs for Fata’s population and create avenues for development.
Engr Shahryar Khan Baseer
Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2016