Stories about FATA

Shameful but true: Pakistan laws remain those of our British overlords

It sounds like something out of ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’. Pakistan, in the scheme of things, is a young country. But the laws which govern it are old. Very old. Consider, for example, the country’s criminal law known as the Pakistan Penal Code. It was enacted in 1860 by the British Raj, Lord Macaulay. It was earlier known as the Indian Penal Code but was renamed after the partition in 1947. It was considered as the Code of Criminal Procedure, the regulation which regulates the functioning of all criminal courts in Pakistan, which was enacted in 1898. Other laws include –           The ...

Read Full Post

Disaster victims are boring, lets cover Bollywood instead

Did you know that the estimated number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is around one million according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)? Did you know that another 1.5 million were affected by floods this year according to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)? There are 1.2 million people in Pakistan urgently in need for winter items this season. I am quite sure that most people are unaware of these statistics. This is because the content on TV channels is driven by sensationalism which is essential to win the ratings race. Hence, we only ...

Read Full Post

Our nukes, their drones, our loss, their science

A news bulletin pops up on our television every now and then – showing that some region in our country – mostly the Federally Administered Tribal Agency or FATA – has been the recipient of a drone attack. These attacks often result in considerable damage to life and property, and there have been so many of them to date that it raised some questions in my mind. How can a country, located at least two continents away, kill anyone in our land with such impunity? How did the US gain access to the kind of technology that is able to pinpoint individuals from ...

Read Full Post

US-Afghanistan withdrawal: Can Pakistan survive without NATO money?

With September 2014 fast approaching, all eyes are fixed on Afghanistan and the announced withdrawal of the United States-led coalition forces. Although the Afghan Loya Jirga has asked President Karazai to sign the peace deal with the US, a majority of the contingents are scheduled to leave by the end of 2014. This mass military exodus from Afghanistan will shift the burden of security responsibility onto the Afghan army and police. It is hard to predict whether the Afghan forces will able to cope with the post-withdrawal security situation or not. Yet the withdrawal will surely have a negative economic impact – ...

Read Full Post

Hangu drone strike: Broken American promises, dead Pakistani citizens

Drones would be easier to understand if we were to put ourselves in the others’ shoes. Imagine you are a resident of FATA – a land which you probably feel is barely more than a colony of Pakistan. You are deprived of your most basic rights and facilities, such as education. You reside in a backward region still governed by the obsolete and inhumane Frontier Crimes Regulation, where the writ of the tribal code ‘Pukhtunwali’ is above all. It is not the easiest life, so you try to seek sanctuary at home. Things seem to be okay until a trigger-happy cowboy sitting in ...

Read Full Post

Will Hakimullah Mehsud be the ‘man who wasn’t given a chance’?

Hakimullah Mehsud is dead. Pakistan should be celebrating because we are rid of the man who has caused so much pain to us over the years. However, I cannot shake off the sinking feeling that whether we like it or not, Hakimullah Mehsud will emerge as the man who was wronged. This man will not be remembered for the blood he has shed, but will be the ‘man who wanted to talk but wasn’t given the chance’. That is the importance of timing. Mark this statement because we are all going to hear it for years to come from our beloved ...

Read Full Post

DI Khan prison break: Is the PTI to blame?

In lieu of the Dera Ismail Khan (DI Khan) Central Prison attack, the media mounted one of its own. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) came under strong criticism for its failure to initially prevent, and then contain the incident. Prominent MQM politicians, for example, took to social media to openly question the whereabouts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Pervez Khattak as the fight between the militants and the security forces raged on. Meanwhile, PTI leader Imran Khan found his hands tied in a different issue altogether – that of Ayla Malik’s fake degree. It was disappointing to see both Imran Khan and ...

Read Full Post

When the Presidential election is more important than the Parachinar blast

Pakistan is a rather strange place. If you are unable to fast because you are unwell, you can end up with a black eye and maybe a few broken ribs. This is courtesy of our informal, yet thorough and self proclaimed moral police marching down the streets 365 days of the year; they are the ‘righteous’. However, if you want to join in the Ramazan festivities beware that shopping for iftar in a local market or going to a mosque may become a gamble on life.  The twin blasts in Parachinar yesterday, left at least 50 dead and around a 122 severely injured. ...

Read Full Post

If Pakistan acquires drone technology from the US …

Regular militant attacks have now become a norm in Pakistan. The situation on the ground suggests that tracking and hunting militants is difficult, whereas for militants, carrying out their activities at will is easier. In terms of numbers, drones have killed more militants in FATA compared to on ground operations, but these drones do not conform with legal parameters set by the Pakistani constitution. A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog on drones and the need for the Pakistan government and the military to come out clean on the issue. On July 8, 2013, it was reported that the Pakistani government is considering ...

Read Full Post

FATA? Is that where tribesmen are cannibals and women are slaves?

Over the years, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan (FATA) have been a hot topic of discussion, but for all the wrong reasons.   We, the tribal people, have been termed as ‘wild’ and are somehow depicted as sub-human. Our women are often at the receiving end of pity because they are believed to be subjected and persecuted. Where to start and where to begin here? Through this post, I would like to introduce you to the Fata I have spent my entire life in by busting some popular myths about this region. Myth 1: In Fata,women are to remain illiterate and house-bound Please do ...

Read Full Post