FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) was a partially autonomous region in North-Western Pakistan. In 2018 it merged with KPK and consisted of 6-frontier parts and 7-tribal agencies. The Federal Government of Pakistan governs it via special laws named FCR (Frontier Crimes Regulations).
FATA bordered Pakistani provinces Punjab, KPK, Baluchistan, and Afghan provinces of Paktika, Khost, Patika, Nangarhar, and Kunar to north and west. Pashtun tribes exclusively inhabit this territory who also reside in neighboring provinces of Northern-Baluchistan and KPK.
Since the September-11 attacks in 2001 in the USA, tribal regions are the principal theatre of terrorism and militancy. This article has every detail, including FATA History.
|Federally Administered Tribal Areas
|وفاقی منتظم شدہ قبائیلی علاقہ جات
|Local Language Name:
|Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan
|Seven Tribal Agencies and Six Frontier Regions
|Administrative Unit :
|180/km2 (480/sq mi)
|ISO 3166 Code:
|Pakistan’s federal government
|Total 27,220 km2 (10,510 sq mi)
|180/km2 (480/sq mi)
Table of Contents
The British failed to calm unrest in the territory. The British Empire tried to manage the populace of occupied tribal zones with FCR that gave significant authority to command noble individuals as they were eager to meet the British’s needs. As nobles handed over unchecked powers to Political agents, leading to extensive violation of human rights, FCR was named ‘Black Kaw.’
From 1935 to 1936, a Muslim-Hindu conflict occurred when a Muslim of Bannu kidnapped a Hindu girl. The tribal people rallied around a tribal leader Mirzali Khan in Waziristan, to whom the British conferred the title of ‘Faqeer of Ipi.’
Beginning of Guerrilla War
Against the British, a Jihad was announced. Mirzali, with his grand force (Lashkar), began a guerrilla war against the British regiment in Waziristan. Mirzali moved from Ipi to a town Gurwek on Durand Line, where he announced self-governing territory and continued their raids against British people.
Mirzali and his fellows, including Provincial Assembly members and Khudae Khidmatgars, declared Pashtunistan Resolution. This resolution demanded that Pashtuns have a right to an independent homeland consisting of all Pashtun regions of British-India, instead of joining them with Pakistan. British Rah, however, rejected this resolution.
Refused to Recognize Pakistan
In 1947 after the establishment of Pakistan, Mirzali and his allies refused to recognize Pakistan, launching a campaign against it. They continued guerilla war against the new Government. They announced the formation of Pashtunistan as a separate nation.
Several of Waziristan’s jirgas decided to support and recognize Pakistan leading to the reduced popularity of Khan. After independence, several tribes agreed with the Pakistani Government appealing to ally with the newly formed state. In 1951 Muhammad Agency was added in FATA and Orakzai and Bajaur in 1973.
Governed by FCR
The occupied areas were controlled through FCR after Pakistan’s creation in 1947. Even in 1970, the visitors traveling through Khyber Pass, like those taking overland, were advised to stay in proximity to the road as Pakistan had no authority over adjoining lands.
Taliban Entry in Afghanistan
The Tehreek-e-Taliban activists started entering into the territory. Taliban militants hidden in Federally governed tribal regions started crossing the border to enter Afghanistan, targeting police and military after the USA invasion. This military site has sheltered mostly American SOF (Special Operations Forces) since 2002 and is situated six km from the border of Pakistan. It is known as the most dangerous site in Afghanistan.
Peace Agreement with Army
With the USA’s assistance, eighty-thousand Pakistani soldiers entered tribal areas in 2004 to find al-Qa’ida operatives. Pakistani Taliban fiercely resist them. It wasn’t the elders but the Taliban who made a peace agreement with the military, indicating how the Taliban had implemented their control.
Troops penetrated the territory into North Waziristan and South Waziristan, and eight times from 2004 to 2006, facing resistance from the Pakistani Taliban. In 2004 & 2006, peace terms were set in the region, preventing tribesmen from attacking Afghanistan.
In return, Pakistan would stop military actions against Tribal areas, free prisoners, and allow tribesmen to keep small guns.
Meeting of NSC
On 4th June 2007, the NSC (National Security Council) of Pakistan assembled to decide Waziristan’s fate and take several administrative and political decisions to command the area’s Talibanization. Then-President Musharraf chaired this meeting and governors, and Chief Ministers of all provinces attended it. In this meeting, they discussed declining Law & order conditions and all threats to the state’s security.
Merged with KPK
On 24th Jan 2017 federal Government thought to join FATA with KPK. The PM Nawaz Shareef would inform ministers about FATA issues with KPK in meetings of the federal cabinet. It was decided that after approval of this merge, Law Minister would make a bill’s draft that would be submitted in the Parliament for acceptance.
The major coalition partner and ally of Pakistan Muslim League-N resisted this step on several political forums. The political party of Mahmood Achakzai ‘The Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, also opposed this act.
Grant for Development of FATA
According to the plan, the Provisional Government would control FATA via making changes to FCR. A grant of Rupees hundred billion has been suggested for the development of FATA under this planned merger, and Federal Divisible Pool would grant this amount.
Support by Political Parties
Most Pakistani political parties supported this merger of FATA with KPK, including PPP, Jamat-e-Islami, PTI, and QWP (Qaumi Wattan Party). In 2016 the ‘Reforms Committee’ of FATA gave concurrent and political-administrative, security, judicial, and political reforms and a substantial rehabilitation and reconstruction program to make FATA for combining with KPK.
Approval for Merging FATA with KPK
This recommended merger was almost finalized in Jan 2017 at a meeting chaired by then-President Mamnoon Hussain. The PM approved this proposal after discussion with all stakeholders. In March 2017 federal cabinet approved the FATA merger with KPK.
On 18th Dec 2017, NIC (National Implementation Committee) on FATA reforms and amendments presided by PM Shahid Khaqan endorsed the merge of KPK-FATA. It allowed FATA to elect twenty-three members to KPK Assembly in general elections 2018. The NIC decided to eliminate FCR’s controversial sections.
Implementation of the 25th Amendment
On 24th May 2018, the Pakistan National Assembly approved a bill to implement the 25th Amendment of the Pakistani Constitution that calls for a FATA merger with KPK. In favor of this Amendment, 229-1 vote was obtained. PMAP (Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party) and JUI-F (Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal) lawmakers left the assembly ahead of voting.
PTI’s Dawar Kundi was a sole dissenter. On 25th May 2018 25th Amendment to Pakistani Constitution was passed in Pakistan Senate. Sixty-nine votes were needed for approval of the bill, and received votes were 71-5 in favor of reforms for the FATA-KPK merger.
On 27th May 2018, the 31st Amendment to Pakistan was passed in KPK Assembly. Total eighty-three votes were needed for approval of the bill, and 87-7 votes were received in favor of the Amendment for the KPK-FATA merger.
Demand for Making FATA a Separate Province
Tribal areas Parliamentarians took staunch exception to the resolution approved by KPK Assembly demanding merger of Tribal regions with their province. The ANP (Awami National Party) asked for the same demands that FATA should be combined with KPK.
Tribal Parliamentarians opposed these proposals. The name ‘Qabailistan’ was recommended for FATA. This proposal didn’t get any attention, and the decision was taken in favor of merging FATA with KPK.
The Federally Governed Tribal regions were bordered by KPK to East, Baluchistan to South, and Afghanistan to west and north. The 7-Tribal zones lay in the North to Southland strip. The geographical sequence of seven tribal regions from North to South order was: Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Orakzai, Kurran, North-Waziristan, South-Waziristan.
In comparison, the sequence of 6-Frontier areas from North-South was: FR, Peshawar, FR Kohat, FR Bannu, FR Lakki Marwat, FR Tank, FR D.I Khan.
Demographics of FATA
Population and Tribes
The estimated populace of Federally governed Tribal regions was approximately 3,341,080 in 2000. Only 3.1 percent population is living in established towns, making it the most rural unit in the country. According to estimates of 2011FATA obtained 62.1 percent population over its figures of 1998, 4,452,913.
After Gilgit-Baltistan, Sindh, and Baluchistan, it is the 4th highest rise in any province’s population. 99.1 percent population is Pashto speaking. The major tribes living in these areas are Utmanzi, Safi, Shinwari, Bangash, Orakzai, Turi, Sherani, Bettani, Dawar, Mahsud, Tarkani, Mohmand, Afridi, and Wazir.
More than 99.6 percent of the populace is Muslim and belongs to Sunni Hanafi Jurisprudence. According to the Pakistani Government’s report, almost fifty-thousand religious minorities reside in the Former Fata area. These include twenty-thousand Christians, twenty-thousand Sikh, and ten-thousand Hindus.
Politics & Government
Parliamentary Representation & Democracy
In 1996, the Pakistani Government granted Tribal Regions ‘Adult Franchise’, giving every adult a right to cast a vote favoring their representatives in Pakistani Parliament. These regions weren’t allowed to arrange political parties. Islamist contestants would be able to run campaigns via madrassahs and mosques, resulting in the selection of Mullahs to represent Tribal zones in the Pakistan National Assembly in 1997 & 2002.
Right of Voting for Women
The Taliban in 2008 directed women of Mohmand, Kurram, and Bajaur against casting a vote under a threat of harsh punishment, while the chief of Lashkar-i-Islam Manal Bagh prohibited females from voting in Bara and Jamrud sub-divisions of Khyber Agency.
Governed by Federal Government
For over 70-years Pakistani Federal Government controlled the region until it merged with KPK. KPK Governor on behalf of Pakistani President used to implement federal authority. The Pakistani Law had particular provisions to govern FATA. The rules that were made by British reign in 1901 as FCR also resumed operating.
FATA inhabitants were represented in the Pakistani Parliament by elected representatives in the Pakistani Senate and National Assembly. FATA had eight members in the Pakistani Senate and twelve members in National Assembly and didn’t have any representation in KPK Provincial Assembly. The tribal agency’s head was a Political-Agent who was a representative of the Pakistani President and KPK Governor.
Ties with Pakistani Army
The Pak army entered in 2001 in Federally governed Tribal zones for 1st time previously commanded by the Frontier Corps. The Terror-Free Tomorrow and New America-Foundation conducted 1st public survey in these areas.
And results depicted that on the matter of fighting the army in the area, the people broadly support the Pak army. Almost seventy percent support the Pak army pursuing Taliban fighters and Al-Qa’ida.
The FATA people are a poverty-stricken section of the Pakistani nation. Though it’s home to 2.4 percent Pakistani population, it contributes only 1.5 percent to the economy.
There are reserves of coal, limestone, copper, and marble. However, due to the prevailing socio-political situation, their exploitation is not possible in a profitable way.
There is water scarcity in former FATA. When the British dominated Malakand, they began working on Amandara-headworks to channel ‘Swat River’ via a tunnel for Charsadda and Mardan’s plains.
Social Issues Faced by FATA
The region has 6,050 public educational institutes, out of which functional institutes are 4,868. There are 3,729 primary schools in these 4,868 institutes. Six hundred twelve thousand five hundred fifty-six students are enrolled in government institutes.
The number of teachers is 22,610, and 7,540 are females. The percentage of students promoted from primary to middle levels is 45% for girls and 73% for boys. In May 2013, Mir Hazar Khan approved the FATA university in FR Kohat, Darra Adam Khel, and Akhurwal.
There is only one doctor for 7,670 FATA people. Only forty-three percent of people have the availability of clean water for drinking purposes. People o the region suspects modern medicines.
- Miran Shah
- Mir Ali
- Landi Kotal
- Dara Adam Khel
- Frontier-Region Tank
- Frontier-Region Peshawar
- Frontier-Region Bannu
- Frontier-Region Kohat
- Frontier-Region Lakki Marwat
- Frontier-Region Dera Ismail Khan
- Bajaur Agency
- South-Waziristan Agency
- Kurram Agency
- North-Waziristan Agency
- Khyber Agency
- Bajaur Agency
- Mohmand Agency
- Orakzai Agency