Time to heal tribal people’s wounds

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ADDRESSING an event in Peshawar the other day, Awami National Party Chief Asfandyaar Wali once again demanded abolishment of draconian Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) and merger of FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This is not the first time that such a demand has come from a political leader but the people of tribal areas themselves have long been asking for repeal of the black law enforced in 1901 to counter Pashtuns opposition to the British rule.
It is unfortunate that despite the passage of about seven decades since our independence, the people of tribal areas who chose to stay with Pakistan have not been freed from the clutches of the FCR under which most of the basic rights of tribal areas stand usurped with political agent or his deputy enjoying unchecked powers – both executive and judicial. In contravention of the basic human rights, it is also considered as a major hindrance in the development of the tribal areas. In this contemporary era there is a need to support the complete abolishment of the FCR, so that FATA may be brought under the purview of the Constitution of Pakistan in the same manner as it applies to the entire country. The people of FATA deserve the same fundamental rights that the rest of Pakistan enjoys. To this end, the present government made some headway by formulating a comprehensive FATA reforms package after consultation with all the stakeholders and discussion within Parliament. This package envisages not only repeal of the FCR but also merger of the area into KPK. Whilst most of the parties support the package, some elements for the sake of their vested interests are creating hurdles in the implementation of the package. The people of tribal areas have already suffered a lot due to militancy and it is time to heal their wounds. The government while rising above its political expediency should gear up efforts towards complete implementation of the package in order to bring the tribal people into the national mainstream.