Archive for the ‘Frontier Crime Regulation’ Category

Muhammad Reports from Pakistan, March 31, 2008

March 30, 2008

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

During last few days I have missed you a lot. I hope you and your team at the Peace and Freedom will be alright. Some interesting developments have been taking place in Pakistan nowadays.

The most interesting event is the announcement of prime minister Gilani about the revoking of Frontier Crime Regulation.

The tribal areas are being governed through Frontier Crime Regulation.

The prime minister announcement has created legal vacuum in the tribal areas.

It is interesting to note that Taliban militants have welcomed the announcement as they think now the tribal areas will be handed over to them. A political observer in his comment stated that the authors of the prime minister’s speech to the National Assembly on Saturday probably had no understanding of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and the laws that govern it. Why else would Yusuf Raza Gilani announce the abolition of the Frontier Crimes Regulation without actually knowing what the 1901 British law is going to be replaced with and more importantly: what would be its implications?

Little wonder then that at least two of the PPP’s allies, both from the NWFP  the Awami National Party and the JUI (F) — came out with reservations.

The ANP acknowledged that while its leadership had been consulted about  “generalities”, it had not been consulted on the specifics of FCR, which, according to the ANP’s provincial president, Afrasiab Khattak, is the “most investigated and non-implemented law”.

The ANP, he said, would like to retain the FCR with some amendments, something that the JUI (F) and a vast majority of the tribesmen would also like to see.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman told Dawn he too was not consulted and warned that any such move would entail grave implications for Pakistan.

The FCR presently in vogue in the seven federally administered tribal regions and six Frontier Regions basically explains relationship between the state and the tribes on the one hand through an indirect form of governance; and on the other lays down procedure for dealing with inter-tribal matters.

But the British-era law has been coming in under a lot of criticism from human rights activists, the civil society as well as a section of the tribal people.

The very draconian nature of some sections of the law, chiefly the Frontier Crimes Regulation 40, a preventive law pertaining to good conduct that has been grossly misused by the political administration to keep people under detention for longer periods of time than the stipulated three years for peace-keeping it provides for on non-acceptance of sureties by the accused.

The other most controversial sections of the law pertain to collective responsibility and territorial responsibility.Section 21 (Collective Responsibility) empowers the administration to direct the confiscation of all or any member of a tribe and all or any property belonging to them or anyone of them, if the tribe, or any section or member of such a tribe, are found acting in a hostile manner towards the government or towards people in the country.

Section 22 (territorial responsibility) empowers the administration to impose a fine on an entire village if there appear to be good reasons to believe that the inhabitants of the village have connived with, or abetted in the commission of an offence or failed to render assistance in their power to discover the offender or to effect their arrest.

Article 246 and 247 of the Constitution deals with the tribal areas — both the federally administered as well as the provincially administered tribal areas. The Constitution also states that the parliament cannot legislate for the tribal regions unless the president so directs.

The irony is that legislators from Fata can take part in legislation for the whole country but not for their own regions. The power to repeal or introduce any regulation in the tribal regions thus rests with the president.Analysts warn that any move to repeal or introduce any regulation in the tribal regions would require delicate handling.

What happened in the provincially administered Malakand region following the Supreme Court’s verdict in 1995 that had declared PATA regulation as ultra vires of the Constitution is now for all to see.That decision created a legal vacuum in Malakand and led to an armed rebellion by Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat Muhammadi calling for the enforcement of shariah to replace the defunct PATA regulation  “a problem that continues to haunt the government in Swat.”

Analysts point out to Fata’s special status, its accession to Pakistan and the treaties that Pakistan inherited from the British Empire as a dominion state, an issue also highlighted by Maulana Fazlur Rehman in his speech to the National Assembly on Saturday.

Even if any decision has to be taken, argue these analysts, the tribal people would have to be involved and consulted while introducing any law to govern their way of life. Opinion is divided over the FCR and system of administration in Fata, but most analysts agree that FCR should be retained with some amendments, particularly by making it appealable before a special bench of the High Court.

It requires very delicate handling. Changes in the FCR are the need of the hour. But let’s not create a Malakand-like situation in Fata where the state authority has already been challenged by different militant groups.

Any drastic decision is a sure recipe for disaster, cautioned one senior government official with previous experience in the tribal region.

Dear Sir, situation in tribal areas is still tense as terrorists and security forces have been exchanging fire regularly. The areas are in the grip of terror and fear.

Thank you very much,

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas, Pakistan


Taliban Welcome Pakistan’s PM Talks Offer

March 29, 2008

By Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas, Pakistan
March 29, 2008

Taliban fighters, who engaged the Pakistan army being considered one of the best armies of the world, have welcomed the offer of talks made by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. From the offer and response one thing becomes clear that Taliban are actually the men of these politicians and they had used them against President Pervez Musharra.

There are many people, who have been raising the questions. Is there any justification for talks with criminals as now most of the people are considering Taliban militants criminals?

The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan Saturday welcomed the announcement of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani he made in his first speech in the National Assembly after securing vote of confidence about scrapping the Frontier Crime Regulation through which tribal areas have been governed since independence.

“This is the demand of whole tribesmen that Shariah should be enforced in the tribal areas as the areas cannot be run through FCR enforced by the Britishers for keeping the tribesmen subjugated,” said a purported spokesman of Taliban movement Maulvi Omar while talking to local newsmen by phone from undisclosed location.

The Taliban spokesman also welcomed the offer of prime minister for talks with Taliban saying that peace could only be restored through talks. “The prime minister’s announcement creates a ray of hope for peace in the tribal areas,” he added.

It merits a mention here Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani urged militants to renounce violence and offered to hold talks with those who give up arms and join the new democratic era. Addressing the parliament after wining a unanimous vote of confidence, Gilani said terrorism was the biggest threat undermining Pakistan’s stability. “Our first priority will be restoration of law and order and elimination of terrorism from the country,” said Gilani.

Maulvi Omar demanded of the prime minister to abandon the war on terrorism launched by President Pervez Musharraf on the instruction of the United States. “Taliban are ready to respond positively to the initiatives of the present government for restoration of peace in tribal areas and other parts of the country,” he added.
“our only demand of the Taliban movement is the withdrawal of Pakistan from the US-led coalition against terrorism,” he added