Is Fata a colony of Pakistan? This question may sound ridiculous to some but let’s be honest, is Fata a part of Pakistan or is it a colony? I am from Fata and have always felt that I was alienated from Pakistan; I would need a visa to enter Pakistan. This, in all honesty describes the plight and the agony of the people of Fata for the last 66 years.

We do not use the sword in modern warfare because it does not fulfill the requirements of present day warfare; same is the case with the legal and administrative systems of a country. Fata has been suffering under laws made by the British Raj which could never conquer these brave warriors, these black laws were created to infringe upon their freedom and to restrict them inside their boundaries. After Pakistan came into formation these laws should have been changed but the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR), a legal and administrative system that sets it apart from the rest of the country, remains the order of the day.

FCR stood for a system of “No appeal, wakeel and daleel (respectively, the Right to Appeal detention, the Right to Legal Representation was never given).” Under this system, a Political Agent, head of a tribal region, exercises extensive executive and judicial powers that cannot be revised even by a regular court of law, which is negation of the basic human rights. Thus depriving the tribes, who were devoted guardians of Pakistan`s 2500 miles Durand`s line, of basic human rights. The per capita public development expenditure is shockingly low, one third of the national average. Social development indicators are worse from the day zero. The overall literacy rate is 17.42 percent compared to 56 percent nationally. Fata has a per doctor rate of 1:6,762 compared to the national 1:1,359. Most locals depend on agriculture since there is no industrial development. The Peshawar High Court Chief Justice’ remarks that tribal areas were being treated like the British colonies are historic and self-explanatory.

We the people of Fata demand three conditions, extending the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Peshawar High Court to Fata, separating judiciary and executive in the tribal areas and enforcing the fundamental rights provided by the Constitution of 1973 to be extended to bleeding Fata without any query and further delay.

DR MUKHTAR ALI,

Kurram Agency, April 28.