How appalling it is to be part of such a society where human beings are formally stratified according to their beliefs, aptitude, race, thoughts, actions and words. The civilized world tries to make laws for the safeguard of public interests. It is essential for a state to provide its inhabitants protection against all kinds of discrimination. But when it comes to the Pakistan, law changes its meaning and nature altogether.

There are mainly four provinces and many languages with different dialects. Our ancestors tried to gather the whole nation under one flag but the growing nationalism, provincialism, and sectarianism are threatening to damage the unity among the Pakistani people.

Few days back the president of FATA student organization, Shaukat Aziz, held a conference in the press club and highlighted the unjust and inequitable situation in FATA which seems to be a far cry for the concerned authorities.

He explained how the government’s performance in health and education sectors reveals inability to cope up with the ongoing crisis. The absence of proper infrastructure and unemployment are the major impediments in the way of FATA’s progress, and if their demands remain unheard, after a month they would sit right in front of the Governor House.

Ironically, FATA doesn’t come under the jurisdiction of the Parliament or the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The Article 247 of the Constitution treats the tribal areas of Pakistan unfairly. Basically this article lays the unsound foundation for this extremely undemocratic situation in the tribal areas, which violates and contradicts the fundamental rights of Pakistani citizens.

The Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) are governed by a set of laws – read procedure – called the Frontier Crime Regulations (FCR).  It contains a set of laws which was formulated in 1901 to persecute crimes in FATA.

It is rooted back to the Murderous Outrages Regulation (1877) which was formulated and enacted by the British government to maintain its hegemony over Pashtuns. With the passage of time this act has been modified by the concerned authorities, but it has never complied with tribal laws and customs.

This law is not a mystery anymore. The FCR deny the tribal men three basic rights: the right to appeal; the right to a legal representation and the right to reasoned evidence, which is inhuman and degrading.

According to this law, a political agent, usually appointed on a political basis, is authorized to execute the FCR. In other words a political agent, after the president of Pakistan, is the sole person who can decide the fate of the tribal men.

Pakistani parliament can legislate for all the matters related to the public affairs but it has no say when it comes to tribal areas. This beleaguered situation undermines every step which needs to be taken for the betterment of these people.

The existence of laws such as FCR is irreconcilable for the Pasthuns as it breaches their basic human rights. In 2011 former president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, ordained a presidential order to amend FCR. It was undoubtedly appreciated and welcomed with open arms by all political parties. This presidential order specifically introduced 18 amendments, which protect women, children under 16 and all people above 65, from collective responsibility arrest and prohibited arresting entire tribes. It also had provisions for a more independent appeals process.

But the revised FCR has never been implemented in tribal areas. It won't be exaggeration if one says that the concerned authorities have gone too far down the road that leads to the antagonism and hostility among the tribal people. The government cannot deny the explosion of populism in tribal areas now. The people of FATA are restless as the youth is more enlightened now and is providing resistant to such draconian laws

Imran Khan’s recent statement that tribesmen would decide the future of FATA, is a sign of relief for the grief stricken people of tribal areas. The PTI chairman expressed his view in a conference regarding FATA and tribal people’s plight. He further explained that tribesmen have the right to abolish FCR and introduce a new system that is in synchrony with their culture and customs. Imran Khan announced the formation of a committee, which would finalise the leadership on FATA’s future.

I believe this is splendid. Imran Khan once again managed to deliver an outstanding speech, as he did in 2012. He said in a rally that he will abandon the FCR when he comes to power. Now Mr Khan, one hopes that you live up to your promise since the people of FATA can no longer afford any broken promises.

The concerned authorities hold the law effective with minor amendments till date. I wonder how these laws have been applicable for such a long time, considering the fact that every individual has a right to live according to his own beliefs and customs. It was a dodgy idea of the authorities to maintain the status quo instead of repealing the law. As a result, a sense of enmity remains between the government and the people of FATA.

The sense of deprivation is pouring out and escalating the tension between the government and FATA’s residents. Lacks of basic facilities and destruction caused by the aftermath of military operations have turned all government’s promises of progress and prosperity in tribal areas to dust.

Just imagine: we are actually trying to convince the world that we finally have stable democracy in Pakistan, but simultaneously draconian law such as FCR are still in effect in FATA.

It is high time the federal and provincial governments introduced new laws and ideas in FATA with the collaboration of its residents. We are going to enter a new year, let this year herald a new state approach of providing equal rights to every single Pakistani regardless of his social status, religion, cast and creed.