ISLAMABAD, July 17: Speakers at a seminar organised by Fata Research Centre (FRC) on Tuesday said the tribal people should be involved in legislation and policymaking.
A research report titled ‘Extremism and radicalisation, an overview of the social, political, cultural and economic landscape of Fata’ was launched at the seminar.
Provincial leader of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) Hashim Babar, former federal minister Hamidullah Jan Afridi and former ambassador of Pakistan Ayaz Wazir were key speakers at the event.
Hashim Babar said radicalisation was because of deprivation and poverty. He added that the residents of the area were below the poverty line; therefore they easily become prey to vested interests.
Mr Afridi said the tribal people had always been ignored in legislation, consultation and in the process of policy-making. He hoped that the crisis in the tribal areas could easily be solved if non-tribal hands were stopped.
Ayaz Wazir said the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) was the most neglected area of the country and residents of Fata were never allowed to decide what kind of laws they want. They have to follow Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR).
President FRC Dr Ashraf Ali said war on terror, though brought death and destruction to the area, proved a blessing in disguise.
The huge mass displacement exposed the people of Fata to the outer world where they explored new venues and opportunities for life. Political awareness is on the rise.
The study says that unemployment among the youth was one of the key socio-economic issues of the area that ultimately found linkages with issues like insecurity and extremism.
Among the respondents, 67 per cent totally and 11 per cent partially, were of the view that the youth did not have adequate employment opportunities. Among the respondents, the majority, 51 per cent totally and 25 per cent partially, visualised a bright future for the Fata region and hoped that peace would eventually prevail.
In response to the question about peace and security, 53 per cent, expressed concerns over the persisting security situation in Fata and Frontier Regions (FRs), namely that it deteriorated in comparison with other areas of Pakistan.
Majority, 61 per cent of the people also said empowerment of women through providing health and education facilities, was imperative for development. However, they said it should be relative with tribal traditions in which women are exclusively treated and their mixing with male counterparts is highly discouraged.
More than half (76 per cent) of the respondents expressed that political parties should engage with people in the political process and that the activities of the political parties need to be enhanced in these areas.
The study suggests that the improvement in the overall economic conditions during the last five years has been rare. Majority of the respondents, 68 per cent, see no improvement in economic situation of their area.
According to the survey, the traditional elite in tribal societies — political agents and Maliks — have lost credibility with the people of Fata; in the resulting socio-political vacuum, new influential individuals and groups have arisen, often led by non-locals.
About 92 per cent respondents declared that Jirga — tribal courts — was an integral part of the tribal justice system.
Only seven per cent of total respondents either partially or totally disagreed with the importance of Jirga.
The report was aimed at seeking public opinion on the conflict in Afghanistan and war against terrorism and extremism in Fata.
During the study some 200 in-depth interviews were conducted while 2,000 survey forms were distributed amongst the participants randomly selected from the seven agencies of Fata and the six FRs.