Justice for the tribals of Fata

Published: February 1, 2013
Email

There is a dire need to change the FCR by bringing in new reforms and thereby win the hearts of the people of this region through peace, not by terror and force.

The latest trend on Twitter has been to tweet about the plight of the tribals.

This came about as a result of the death of 17 locals (five of them were from one household and many of whom were children), who died in a rescue operation in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Following this, the tribals brought their bodies to Peshawar, to stage a protest in front of the Governor House. Hoping to stage a quiet, peaceful protest like the one witnessed in Quetta, to the shock of the protesters, instead of negotiating with them, the provincial government officials opened fire on them and unleashed tear gas on them.

They took away the bodies, which were only handed back to the protesters the next day.

After this, many people tweeted about the possibility of a tribal genocide, like the Shia genocide, but as this did not catch on as successfully, they resigned to the campaign phrase of ‘justice for the tribals’ instead.

When this was happening, the Dr Tahirul Qadri drama was in full swing in Islamabad and most TV channels broadcast that live, taking the focus away from this issue.

Given these facts, many people have asked why the tribals are treated so harshly and why have they not been given attention in the media. Some Pashto radio station gave the issue coverage but most of the major Pakistani news channels, even social media, did not.

It is common to say that the tribal area of Fata has become the backyard of Pakistan, where the Pakistani establishment, along with politicians, let all sorts of activities go on unchecked. When the Durand Line was drawn in 1893 and made a part of British India, the locals revolted. After independence, however, instead of bringing reforms to this area, the establishment maintained the status quo. As a result, the tribals have been living under the British-enacted Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR).

Over the decades, thousands of innocent tribals have paid the price for these out-dated and extremely unfair laws.

Today, a century later, it is up to the establishment to make a change and stop the killing of innocent tribals.

There is a dire need to change the FCR by bringing in new reforms and thereby win the hearts of the people of this region through peace, not by terror and force.

Read more by Mureeb here.

Mureeb Mohmand

Mureeb Mohmand

An Express Tribune reporter from FATA. He tweets @mureebmohmand (twitter.com/mureebmohmand)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.