PEACE AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION IN FATA:
Manzoor Ahmad Naazer*
Peace and harmony in FATA is essential for peace, progress and prosperity in Pakistan and Afghanistan. FATA is an area the hit by violence the worst in both countries. Allegedly, it is an epicenter of militancy and cause of sufferings of people in both countries. In turn, it also increases miseries of the people living in FATA caused by heightened search and security operations by Pakistani forces besides drone strikes and other attacks from across the border. The prevailing situation in FATA warrants an in-depth analysis of the problem. The present researcher intends to explore the root causes of the problem and to suggest remedial measures. The study has been divided into five parts: the first part contains a brief introduction of FATA; the second and third part consists of a survey of the underlying and proximate causes of militancy in FATA, respectively; fourth part includes some recommendations / policy guidelines, and; fifth part is the concluding one. I
Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), consisting of 7 agencies and 6 Tribal Regions, covers an area of 27220 sq. km inhabited by 3.15 million people. FATA was one of the most peaceful areas of the country till the dawn of the 21st century when the situation took a new turn in the history of the area. After 9/11, Pakistani policies created strong resentment among the people of the area which ultimately led to the rise of militancy. The ongoing insurgency has so far taken lives of over 50,000 people in Pakistan besides costing a loss of more than $ 100 billion since 2001.
* The author is a Ph. D. scholar and also works as Research Associate at the Department of Politics & International Relations, Faculty of Social Sciences, International Islamic University, Islamabad.
There are several underlying and proximate causes of the ongoing problem in FATA. The UNDERLING CAUSES include: a. Political, Administrative and Legal Vacuum
Due to FATA’s autonomous status since its accession to Pakistan, the government did not interfere with the liberties of its people whose lives are governed more under local traditions than the ordinary law of the country. There existed no political parties, principle of direct election and universal adult franchise and related political process till recently which created political vacuum in the area. Administratively, the government relied on tribal Maliks and staff of Khasadar force who were incapable of meeting any serious challenge such as posed by the militants. The notorious Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) is a decades old system and cannot provide justice in its true sense to the local people. The prevailing political, administrative and legal vacuum provided a fertile ground for nourishment of insurgents on different pretexts. The militants filled this vacuum without any effective check from the government. They established their own courts, which they claimed, provided the people free and speedy justice according to the Shariah Law. They also promised people to liberate them from the clutches and cruelties of Maliks. Thus, the militants were able to get sympathies and support of the local people and to establish their authority in the area. b. Illiteracy, Unemployment and Underdevelopment
Illiteracy, unemployment and underdevelopment are the hallmarks of FATA which the militants successfully used for advancement of their political agenda. The insurgents misguided the illiterate and less educated people, exploited deprivations of the common man and used unemployed youth for anti-state activities in the area and beyond.
c. Legacy of the Past Policies
The successive governments used FATA as sanctuary of local and foreign militants during the Afghan war without anticipating its adverse effects in the future. No body expected that the holy warriors, who were fighting for the glory of Islam and enforcement of Shariah...
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