Reforms are essential for survival

Didar Ali Khan

Every bad news is good news. A theory has attained much popularity in recent years. Shocking news like: unrest, suicide attacks, honor killing, child abduction or human trafficking, give charm to make such news head news of the day.

The news about the FATA reforms or the government keen interest to take away the FCR from tribal areas was good news for me in this year. It is the need of hour to bring about reforms in FATA.

The inventors of the law had left this land over 69 years ago, the successive rulers, both military and civilian, considered it an important legal instrument for ruling tribal areas including FATA and Gilgit Baltistan. FATA remained unlucky; the black law of the British era, FCR (Frontier Crimes Regulation) is still applicable since its inception.

The FCR has its origins in the Murderous Outrages Regulation (FOR) which was enacted by British Empire to prosecute crimes. It was specifically devised to encounter the anti state element and formally implemented in 1877. The regulation took their present form primarily through the Frontier Crimes Regulation act of 1901.

Other than FATA, the black law was also applicable in Gilgit Baltistan. In 1947, the Republic of Gilgit-Baltistan emerged on the map of the world and survived only for a couple of weeks. The people of the region fought their own war against the tyrannical regime of Dogra Raj and won their freedom. The freedom fighters opted to merge their peace of land with the newly state Pakistan. However, in reward, the GB went under FCR for 35 years. In 1972, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan took away the law. 1972 is being considered as a benchmark in the history of GB in development and progress prospective.  With the collapse of FCR the fate of the people ­­­­­­­­of GB dramatically changed. ­­­

Human rights activist and the superior judiciary have argued that regulation violates basic human rights. Under FCR citizens are deprived of appeal, wakeel and daleel, respectively, the right to appeal detention, the right to legal representation, and the right to represent reasoned evidence.
One of the worst of the FCR is the collective punishment, which is imposed on anyone in the areas for a crime committed by him or his relative, spouse, or even any other person from the same tribe and area. Among the most damaging provisions in the FCR is the clause permitting the “seizure/confiscation of property and arrest and detention of an individual without due process.

In 2011, president of Pakistan  Asif Ali Zardari enacted a presidential order to amend the FCR. This step was widely viewed as the most substantive changes in the approximately more than 100 year’s history of the regulation.

The current government has shown their keen interest to bring about reforms. The proposal forwarded to discuss in parliament will benefit either way the people of FATA. The best would be if FATA will be merged with KPK.

According to the charter of UN, state has to provide rights to its Nation. The state is responsible to bring up the backward areas into the current pace of development and progress. Unfortunately, in Pakistan ruling and privilege class has occupied all resources of the country and indigenous people of small provinces and federally administered areas are badly discriminated and deprived. Small provinces and the federally administered areas, such as Gilgit Baltistan, KPK and Baluchistan have much reservation with the center. Discrimination has led the sense of deprivation and people have lost their trust on government and its functionaries. This is the deprivation which compels people to take law in their own hands.

Political discrimination has proofed that, the democracy is failed. All institutions have been destroyed and the judicial system seemed to more political then judiciary. The organizations providing security to general public are turned to be biased. The lost son of senior judge recovered with in few days, whereas no records, or any follow up has been take to recover more than 300 abducted children belongs to poor people.

The allocation of NFC award based on the formula of population has given no thing to the backward areas like Baluchistan and Gilgit Baltistan. The current allocation in statistical term called as probability proportional to the size. This formula has the major drawback, as it is always skewed towards the big numeric.  A part from many flaws, this formula is also a reason to increase population. For the allocation of resources (NFC award) other technique such quota based allocation can also be adopted keeping in view the need of the areas. The need of hour is not to invest again and again in already developed areas, it is the time to build a nation, and it is the time to cure the deprivation.

The fate of GB, particularly of youths, is highly linked with the decision of FATA. Currently GBA and FATA are jointly being provided share in federal. The allocation of jobs, admission quotas are being awarded jointly for FATA and GB.

Time has come; the leaders of GB should raise voice for their rights. The status of GB is as important, so as FATA. GB has been neglected in all forms; we are even in worse situation than FATA. What the mega project of CPEC is to give us other than smokes of more than 4,000 vehicles on daily base. This is the right time to demand for the basic rights to accommodate the deprivation of more than 50 years.

IF the rights of the people will be preserved by state people love the state. This would be worse kind of atrocity, where people are being deprived and they have no right to raise voice against.

The contributor is an MS Research Scholar at the International Islamic University, Islamabad.  Email: didarkhan99@gmail.com

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