The political administration of Khyber Agency has granted the status of ‘Lungi holder’ (tribal elder) to four representatives of minority communities. This is the first time minorities living in FATA have been granted the status of tribal elders, a monumental step towards accepting minorities as equals. Such cultural and social acceptance can end discrimination between local residents and the minority community living in tribal areas.

Under this set of new rules of the administration the four minorities, the Lungi holders are entitled to official perks and privileges along with the authority to stamp their attestation on all important national documents including those for computerised national identity card, domicile certificate and passport. This will make sure that minorities are no longer deprived of having resources at their disposal and have an official means to address their grievances. Previously the elders would either refuse attestation of their documents or would ask for gratification to complete the process.

The federal government has also decided, in principle, to issue tribal domicile certificates to all the minority communities in FATA, while the FATA Secretariat is devising a new format for their inclusion. The domicile certificate for the minorities entitles them to their personal properties and an adequate share in government jobs in FATA.

FATA already has a turbulent political structure and has been through its fair share of war and terror. Khyber Agency in particular has just come out of two military operations and decades of insecurity. That the tribal leaders in Khyber Agency have thought about the inclusion of minorities is commendable. This should also signal to the rest of Pakistan, that the people of FATA are ready for better integration into Pakistan. Adequate representation is a right for very Pakistani, whether it is in the form of communal acceptance, or representation in the national legislature.