FOR the people of the Federally-Administered Tribal Area (Fata) Aug 14, 1947, was of no consequence. They only heard from travellers to Peshawar that a separate Muslim country Pakistan had come into existence and also learnt that the purpose of the new creation was to enable Muslims of South Asia to lead a life of freedom and progress which was not possible under British or Hindu rule.
The people at large continued to reel under special laws that shackled their freedom, and they became a subjugated subject under a bureaucrat called Political Agent, a legacy of the British Raj. Of all the rules and regulations that were specified for the Fata people, the most draconian regulation was the Frontier Crime Regulations (FCR).
Strangely, it took seven decades for our rulers to realise how inhuman the FCR was.
The present government has finally decided not only to bring Fata in the mainstream, but merge it into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province after five years.
The Rewaj Bill 2017 will replace the draconian FCR. Strangely, the Rewaj Bill has all the contents and intentions that the FCR contained, though in a different script.
Thus the Fata population while freeing themselves from the FCR is caught in a new web, the Rewaj Bill. They have literally got out of the frying pan, the FCR, into the fire, the Rewaj Bill 2017.
Why cannot the Fata population, a part of Pakistan, be subjected to the same penal code which is prevalent in the rest of the country? What is good for the goose should be good for the gander.
Sayed G.B. Shah Bokhari
Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2017