KP-FATA merger: Timeline of events to change the legal, demographic and administrative structure
FATA is now officially part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the whole scenario involves the series of events from the formation of a committee for reform consultations to legal amendments. It goes without saying that fire in the neighborhood will leave you unharmed as it can hurt you in a number of ways directly or indirectly and the same happens with the erstwhile tribal areas.
Former USSR’s ground invasion in Afghanistan, US reaction after World-Trade Center tragedy and things like that caused radical changes in tribal areas and losses multiplied due to a kind of ungoverned status of these areas. Military operations did a lot to restore the peace but there was a dire need for reforms instead of counter-strategy.
The region is already poverty-stricken – the root cause of so many societal evils, as per the 2016 multi-dimensional poverty index report. The extent of poverty in FATA is far greater than Punjab, Sindh, KP and other regions of the country.
Timeline of related events since 2014
May 2014: KP governor set up the 5-member FRC to propose FATA reforms comprising of retired civil and military officials. The FRC was to work on 18 terms of reference to bring about the reform agenda.
January 2015: A point was included about FATA reforms in the National Action Plan following the tragic incident of the APS attack that read: “Keeping the rehabilitation of internally displaced persons as the topmost priority, administrative and development reforms in FATA will be expedited.”
April 2015: Lawmakers from FATA and political parties didn’t give approval to FRC’s recommendations.
9 November 2015: A committee was formed to bring about the consultations with the tribal people and with other stakeholders to ascertain the future of tribal belts.
August 2016: The 6-member committee(without any inclusion from FATA itself) presented its report before the Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
24 May 2018: The report came under discussion before the lower and upper houses of the assembly and got approval on May 24 and May 25, 2018, in the lower and upper house respectively.
27 May 2018: KP assembly also passed the resolution with the two-third majority by 27 of the same month to officially accept the KP-FATA merger.
28 May 2018: FCR abolished on May 28, 2018, and jurisdiction of the national judiciary extends to the area as the then President Mamnoon Hussain signed the FATA Interim Governance Regulation, 2018 – changing the constitutional status of erstwhile tribal areas.
Related Constitutional Amendment: Twenty-fifth Amendment formerly 31st Amendment sought to amend Article 1 of Pakistan’s constitution which defined FATA as a separate territory from other provinces of the country. The amendment was to bring about the changes in the legal and administrative structure of Federally Administered Tribal Areas apart from changing its demographics.
Earlier, FATA was under the direct executive authority of the President of Pakistan and was regulated by Frontier Crimes Regulations that were a special set of laws of British India that was enforced in the nineteenth century and remained in effect until last year’s approval by the president to FATA regulations.
KP-FATA Elections: There have been elections in sixteen constituencies of FATA comprising seven districts where 285 candidates contested the elections.
Do you think that the undertaken legal and administrative changes will help in resolving the issues of FATA? Let us know in the comment section below