Stories about FCR

70 years of independence for Pakistan while FATA continues to be haunted by its colonial past

The government of Pakistan has finally decided to replace the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) with the Riwaj Act – a newly promulgated piece of legislation that will put an end to the century-old status quo in the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA). This is a very bold and highly commendable move by the government of Pakistan, which will surely go a long way in bringing FATA at par with the rest of the country. Before highlighting the significance of this landmark decision, which will hopefully introduce much-needed reforms in FATA, let me present a historical snapshot regarding FCR to offer a clearer picture of ...

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It wasn’t state facilitation but years of political neglect that turned FATA into an extremist stronghold

Whilst our civilian rulers have borne significant calumny for their dismal governance since the return of the democratic regime in 2008, there remain some feathers in the cap they can yet point to when juxtaposed with their military counterparts. Take the 18th Constitutional amendment for example. Since independence, successive military regimes have sought to consolidate power in the centre, perpetrating a phantom federation which in turn fuelled discontent and separatist-ism throughout the smaller provinces. The unitary propensity of the establishment also played a vital role in the East Pakistan debacle in 1971. The 18th amendment represented a break from this past, bringing about an inclusive administrative system by ...

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Why is FATA still administered by a typical British Raj law?

After the British took over Punjab from the Sikhs, they inherited what they called the frontier problem. The Pakhtun tribes on the periphery of Punjab had a long history of resisting authority emanating elsewhere dating back to the days of Akbar the Great. Maharaja Ranjit Singh had successfully driven back the Pakhtun tribes, but even that hard fought peace was tenuous at best, exacerbated by the fact that Ranjit Singh was a non-Muslim sovereign and the tribes were entirely Muslim.  As the power in Punjab changed hands from Sikhs to the British, the tribes once again rose in open revolt. ...

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If the army has cleared the agency of all militants, then what is there to hide in South Waziristan?

The Pakistan Army has been fighting valiantly against the scourge of terrorism. There can be no words that can fully express the debt of gratitude that one feels towards our soldiers for having done what they have done to protect the people of Pakistan from the nefarious designs of these “holy warriors.” That being said, what comes next is an arduous task. The frontier of Pakistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) will continue to pose a challenge unless and until something is drastically done on a political and national level to integrate them fully into Pakistan. They must not be ...

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My sister was a victim of honour killing and I demand justice!

Feudal lords have ruled over Sindh and Balochistan for centuries now. These land-owning stalwarts proudly protect their out-dated customs and traditions, without any resistance. Why? Because no one has the power or the will to stand up against them; and this has cost us many innocent lives. Recently, the case of Tahira Khoso made it to the news; she was shot in the head, in the presence of her father, brother and uncle in Jacobabad, as part of an honour killing ritual. Her husband, Waqar Umrani, shot her in cold blood after some domestic dispute took place between the couple. Umrani ...

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FCR: Man playing god with the people of Fata

FATA is home to approximately 10 million people. These people may be called ‘Pakistani’ citizens, but the reality is – they are not. Even after 67 years of independence, despite being a strategic part of Pakistan, the constitution of the country simply does not apply here. Why? Good question. What is worse is that the laws that do, in fact, apply are a set of colonial laws formulated and enacted by the British more than a century ago! Some of these date all the way back to 1893, when the Durand Line was drawn by colonialists. A single visit to Fata will demonstrate ...

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Bringing FATA into the mainstream

The much talked about and supported military operation, Zarb-e-Azb, has been initiated in North Waziristan with the objective of clearing the region from local and foreign Taliban sanctuaries. The military strategy has already displaced thousands from the war-torn region at a time when the internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected from previous conflicts and disasters haven’t returned to their homes yet. Up to 30,000 soldiers are involved in the current operation, while more than 800,000 people have fled the area over security and an uncertain future. The operation was launched after the failed attempt at peace talks and demands from the ...

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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 ...

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Reforms in FATA will not help

The Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) was legalized by the British government in 1901, to control tribal territory through a political agent. However, the recently introduced amendments in the infamous FCR are cosmetic ones, and will not bring any visible change to the life of tribal people. The amendments state the follows: 1- No one can be indefinitely detained, and people will have the right to appeal in the FCR tribunal which will have equal power as the High Court. 2- Cases will be decided in a fixed time frame and those arrested can be released on bail. 3- Women and children below the ...

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Overcoming our colonial legacy

On August 12, Pakistan finally came to grips with its colonial legacy. The Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), a draconian law framed by British to govern the ‘unruly tribal areas’ on the border with Afghanistan has finally been scrapped. The British viewed the frontier regions as a buffer zone for the empire, beyond which lay the territories of Afghanistan. The frontier tribes were never brought under complete suzerainty of Britain, although indirect rule was exercised through tribal chiefs and intermediaries. The Pashtuns, historically allergic to foreign occupation offered strong resistance to the British. Thus naturally, the brutes and savages had to be ...

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