The people of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are victims of state initiated militancy since 1977 when Russo-Afghan war started. The entire 27220km area became thriving aboard for religious seminaries and then nesting point for war zealots from the globe who fought proxy war in the name of Islam. The land of brave, simple and patriotic tribal dwellers gradually turned into Terrorist heaven due to lack of proper and effective watch & ward system. Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) is here since April 24, 1901 as administrative, legal and judicial framework. Though FCR was promulgated to protect British Raj and its interest along Afghan border and counter Pashtun onslaught against the empire, but FCR is considered workable till now to tame the hard and sturdies.
These Tribal areas are categorised into Federal and Provincial subjects through FATA secretariat governing seven agencies and PATA governing six frontiers regions adjoining settled districts of Khyber Pakhtoonkha KPK and Baluchistan. Physical geography was the main hindrance to administer and regulate this remote part of British empire but still the empire tried its best to layout communication and access means and modes to reach as close to the people as they could. However even after partition, the ideology to govern and treat the inhabitants remained the same. No concrete efforts were done to restructure the old and lethargic infrastructure as well as civic amenities. The proxy governance through FCR by Maliks and Khans didn’t changed the fate of FATA people and ironically Religious Zealots subdued and hence around 5 million populations is downsized ,killed, and murdered by Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan TTP,Pakistani law enforcement agencies and then by American drones.
Although British considered remedy in the shape of FCR for social, cultural and political impediments in FATA but during last 6 decades or more the ways to progress for Tribal area people are so zigzag that Civic and municipal progress is banned for them by self-ascertained threats to Tribal society. Present day FATA society is not more developed then pastoral society of the past which is sheer negligence of respective Governments since 1947.The only concern for Government of Pakistan during last six decades was administrative ,law and order control and that’s it. If British Empire did her best to govern untamed Tribal by their Tribal elders so did the Pakistani governments to keep them away from all worldly progress. So none of the constitution of Pakistan from 1956 to 1973 and till now has any access and efficacy on Tribal area.
It’s enough to comprehend that why FCR is said draconian law as before 2011 amendments, entire tribes were arrested, including women children and seniors. There was no time limit of disposal of cases and review and revision of decisions and orders. Fines and forfeitures of property and salaries was rampant. It’s a bitter reality that citizens of Tribal areas are devoid of fundamental rights of liberty, dignity, education, equal protection under the law, privacy of the home, right to a fair trial, freedom of movement, freedom of association, freedom of speech, religious freedom, and access to information, or property rights, among others. Likewise, according to the Constitution of 1973, no law may be enacted that allows: detention without legal counsel, self-incrimination, double jeopardy, retrospective punishment, religious taxation, or discrimination regarding access to public places.
Although some amendments were done to cure ailments to Tribal set up in 1997 by setting up FATATribunal. Then the Frontier Crimes (Amendment) Regulation, 2011 significantly altered the existing Frontier Crimes Regulation, 1901 (Regulation No. III of 1901). Prior to 2011, the FCR was amended in 1928, 1937, 1938, 1947, 1962, 1963, 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2000. But whatever the amendments were done had no substantial impact and change .The 2011 amendments to the FCR brought the regulation in line with the Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860) and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (Act No. V of 1898). But in terms of substance and efficacy, a lot is needed still.
The present armed operation“ Zarb e Azab” in Waziristan has shaken the demography and civic structure of its people.Around 90,750 families consisting of 9, 92,649 persons have been registered as internally displaced persons by concerned authorities.This dislocation is not restricted to common peoplebut the affluent and powerful are also on foot and search of shelter in settled areas of KPK and other areas in Pakistan. It’s high time for all political parties to decide in unison the reforms to lessen the worries of displaced persons. It’s the exact time to bring FATA and PATA into mainstream by declaring tribal areas a new province and setting up a coherent civic, judicial and political set up for them and abolishing FCR. Removal of FCR is actual remedy for FATA.