Fata’s reform process has become a recurrent political theme, proposed and discussed over many decades and yielding nothing substantive. The most recent development in this regard was a reforms committee which had presented its recommendations in 2016 after active consultations with various stakeholders within Fata.
Though there were reservations about the composition of the committee as well as the people it had consulted over ten months, there has been a consistent demand to begin implementing the recommendations.
To start with, the committee had proposed a gradual “mainstreaming” of Fata over the next five years. There would be judicial and administrative reforms along with a Fata Council put in place (like Gilgit Baltistan). But the status of Fata as an independent entity or one that ought to merge with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was left open to be decided later. Meanwhile, it was suggested that the people of Fata should be able to send their representatives for the KP assembly in 2018, through a constitutional amendment.
Read also: Fata’s recurrent reforms
Another major recommendation was to repeal the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) and replaced by the new Rewaj Regulation whereby provisions related to collective responsibility would be omitted.
Saner elements had then argued that the Rewaj Regulation was equally faulty and would not let the people of Fata enjoy the same constitutional rights and principles of law and justice as the rest of the country.
This brings us back to the people of this wretched region who have stayed invisible in the entire debate about their own future. A region and people that paid a huge price for being used in the country’s defence and foreign policies literally do not exist for the mainland. What do the people of Fata think of this whole reform and mainstreaming process and what are their immediate concerns?
In today’s Special Report, we have tried to focus on the ignored people of Fata, and also the women who are victimised a lot more. What follows is the process, the pitfalls, the political parties’ stand and all else that stands in the way of Fata’s fate.