The Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) was enforced by the British in 1848 to control the Pushtuns while they were projected to serve the interest of British Empire. At the time of Pakistan’s independence, the notorious FCR was applied to the whole of the then North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the province of Balochistan. In 1956, the settled districts of NWFP and in 1973 the province of Balochistan, were exempted from FCR and brought into Pakistan’s mainstream. However, FATA continued to remain under the FCR regime, much to the discontent of its people.
It was Z A Bhutto who first extended the executive authority of the Federation to FATA in the 1973 Constitution. In 2004, the late Benazir Bhutto constituted a special Fata Reforms Committee and filed a petition in the Supreme Court for political reforms in tribal areas. In November 2004, the Senate adopted a PPP resolution for reforms in Fata and in August 2005 it adopted a report of its Committee on Human Rights recommending changes in the FCR.
President Zardari has signed the historical documents of Amendments to FCR (2011) and has extended the Political Parities Order (2002) to tribal areas. A century-old tradition has been broken for the development and prosperity of FATA. Following the policy of reconciliation, the democratic government has taken all major political parties into confidence over the extension of the order.
All political parties have hailed this step of the government by which rights of people of FATA have been recognised as they will not be punished now for the crimes of others and no more monarchy of Political Agents now. This step of government is laudable and will be regarded in good words in the time to come.
HAFIZ MUHAMMAD IRFAN