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Courts extension to FATA

In Pakistan, there are many regions that are backward and deprived. Among those areas, FATA is the most deprived territory. Since 1901, the draconian British law, Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) is imposed on FATA. In every tribal agency, Political agent being the representative of the President of Pakistan, is the executive of the agency. Political agent is neither auditable nor accountable. Collective responsibility persists in FCR under which a house or whole village can be destroyed as a result of single individual’s guilt.
The most serious and burning flaw in FCR was basic human rights violations. Under FCR, tribals have not right of Pakistan judiciary access. They had no right to challenge or appeal in the courts. There were no jurisdictions of courts to FATA. All the disputes are settled by the decisions of a few local elders who are the beneficiaries of FCR.
As compared to other regions of the country, education is appalling. As a result of talibanization and military operations, some schools are completely or partially destroyed. The government did not pay any attention to allocate proper share for repairing and rebuilding of the schools. The class rooms in schools and colleges are overcrowded and there is paucity of teaching staff. Unlike other parts of the country, there is only one university in FATA which has been established recently.
As the incumbent government on its last leg, as a result of unstopped struggle FATA’s MNAs and FATA youth Jirga, headed by anchor-person Saleem Safi, the fata reforms bill after passing from national assembly and senate, President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain signed it.
Now the jurisdiction of Supreme Court and high court will extend to tribal areas.
Extension of Courts to FATA is a historical movement. The people of FATA will have the right now to approach Pakistan Judiciary.
This historical reforms will pave way to its merger in KP. After this, the tribal people are able to challenge the rest of the FCR’s faults and flaws including collective responsibility in courts.
We hope that the extension of courts’ jurisdiction to FATA is in best interest of Pakistan and is an initiative of FCR abolishment.
Hanif Ullah
Bajaur Agency

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