Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Future of FATA (FATA in KPK or a separate province)

The current status of FATA has been criticized worldwide and so is its law FCR (Frontier Crime Regulations) . Attempts have been made by the current government to amend FCR and include sections which could possibly be implemented on HUMANS living in FATA . They say chances of improvements exist everywhere but the FCR which is a regulation that deals with controlling crimes only cannot be improved at all. The only solution for it is to abolish it completely. But then an important question comes to our mind that what would be the status of these 7 Tribal Agencies and 6 Regions if FCR is replaced by the 1973 constitution of Pakistan ? where will these areas go?

 There are two most debated options for FATA if and only if FCR ( which i don`t think it will happen so quickly because of the strong stockholders of FCR opposing any challenge which comes in its way)  was abolished , one is merging it into Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and the other is making a separate province of these 7 agencies and 6 FR regions. The later has been supported by a sound majority of FATA parliamentarians  while the first -merging FATA and KPK- has been supported mainly by Awami National Party (ANP). I will discuss why merging is a better option and not a separate.

FATA being A Separate Province
We should first look at the geography of FATA, start it from Bajaur Agency which borders Lower Dir, Malakand and Chitral ( settled districts of KPK) and is bordering the only FATA region i.e. Mohmand Agency through Nawagai Chamarkand. Mohmand  Agency is then connected to khyber Agency through a very narrow and non-passable strip so if you want to travel from Bajaur Agency to Khbyer Agency you will have to pass through Dist Charsada and Peshawar which is also not even the route followed by the majority to and from Peshawar,they follow the Mardan-Malakand-Dir route. As you can see in the map same is the case with North and south waziristan and Orakzai and Kurram Agencies and all the FR regions. Practically there is not a single Tribal Agency which could be declared as Capital of FATA  if it becomes a province.
Peace and Infrastructure are literally touching the baseline of the graph which is another reason why the capital of FATA should be Peshawar if it becomes a province.
The second argument which is largely given in favor of FATA -The Province- is that the people living there are all pashto speakers and they share the same cultural values. But lets not forget that the two Waziristans are more similar to Bannu and Lakki Marwat than to Bajaur and Mohmand. Mohamand and Bajaur are similiar in traditions to people living in the north-eastern districts of KPK i.e. Dir, Malakand and Charsada.
A close friend of MNA and Federal minister Shaukatullah khan was telling us that there was a meeting of FATA lawmakers and they were discussing future of FATA. Some of them proposed that we should demand a separate province but before seeking the opinions of others members the Waziristani contingent started fighting over the issue of its capital(one arguing that North waziristan should be its capital and the other from South Waziristan was favoring South Waziristan).
Moreover there is not a single university in FATA and the only proposed medical college in Bajaur was made controversial because other agencies decision makers wanted it to be in their locality despite the fact that the Agency Head Quarter Hospital Bajaur is the only developed hospital in FATA which might afford medical teaching. So if FATA becomes a province, it will become more obvious that the students of FATA seeking admissions in different universities of KPK will be treated like those coming from other provinces and they will then face severe hardships.
Many students from FATA don`t like the proposed name Qabailistan for FATA, it sounds so weird. The historical name of Khuber Agency has already been given to the previous NWFP as Khyber Pukhtunkhwa.

FATA merged in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa

I do not belong to ANP but their proposal of merging FATA and Khyber Pukhtunkhwa seems rational and is in the favor of vast interests of people of FATA. It will not only  extend the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and High Court to tribal regions, abolishing the newly constituted Frontier Crimes Regulation tribunal, and deletion of clause (7) of Article 247 of the Constitution, which violates the fundamental rights of the citizens of the area but also KPK will become the 2nd largest province of the country. It will receive a higher share in the NFC award which will be used in the development of the backward FATA. Also the possible problems to students and business community in peshawar will be eliminated.
This proposal is no way an intention to establish Greater Pukhtunistan because the ANP government has not shown any intentions of doing so in their ruling term of five years. A sound majority of Pukhtuns live in Balochistan and there are Hindko and Sariki Speakers inhabiting Hazara divison and Dist Dera Ismail Khan which reflects why Greater Pukhtunistan is not possible practically.