The Transformation of FATA from A Terror Ridden Tribal Area to A Secure Part of KP
Erstwhile FATA has remained Achilles’ heels of Pakistan for decades. The tribal areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan from the West have suffered and are still enduring too many a problem. The once peaceful tribal areas known for their kind Pashtun traditions and customs got embroiled during Afghan war and in the war against terror. Owing to the 2611km porous border with Afghanistan, FATA suffered the highest degree of collateral damage. Not only this, but FATA’s security has been critically compromised because of the porous Pak-Afghan border. This region then became the hot bed of terror. The Afghan terrorists started seeking safe havens in this region owing to the unfenced border and the peace of this serene area was lost. The continuous diffusion of terrorists from Afghanistan led to the blood bathing of the tribal area in particular and Pakistan in general.
With all the military expertise and strategic rationality, the wave of terror and militancy was suppressed. After securing the area from the spate of terrorism, the next taken step was resettlement and rehabilitation of the internally displaced people. Out of 3.68 million internally displaced people 95% have been resettled successfully.
It was then; the military and civil establishment put their utmost efforts to cleanse the tribal areas and to eradicate even the speck of militancy from there. From operation Khyber to operation Rah-e-Nijaat and from operation Zarb-e-Azb to operation Radd-ul-fassad, several military operations have been carried out for the sake of establishing peace in the terror ridden tribal areas. Throughout this phase of restlessness, Pakistan suffered both -life and material losses. Pakistan sacrificed up to 80k men and approximately $123 billion in this war against terror. Additionally, up to 3.68 million people were internally displaced from FATA because of the security concerns. However, with all the military expertise and strategic rationality, the wave of terror and militancy was suppressed. After securing the area from the spate of terrorism, the next taken step was resettlement and rehabilitation of the internally displaced people. Out of 3.68 million internally displaced people 95% have been resettled successfully.
Establishing peace in the terror ridden areas is not an easy task to be done immediately. It requires strenuous work and determination. The resettlement of FATA has been done but the rehabilitation of the unfortunate area is still in the process. The military establishment seems adamant to rehabilitate and restructure the aforementioned area. From the construction of bridges to roads and hospitals to schools, military establishment has gone an extra mile in the infrastructural development of FATA. A road of approximately 800km has been built among the tribal districts to improve the communication and to reduce the distance. Furthermore, 493 projects were initiated to benefit around 3 million people. Some major developments include restoration and reconstruction of 336 schools, 37 health facilities, 70 new business hubs and 3000 shops and first Agri park of Pakistan at Wana. Other positive developments are; enrollment of 2500 students in Cadet Colleges, extension of Sehat Insaf Card (Rs 750,000 per family) for all families of erstwhile FATA and the accelerated fencing of Pak-Afghan border.
In 2018, government in a positive move passed the 25th amendment to the constitution of Pakistan 1973. Under this amendment, erstwhile FATA was merged with KP. Moreover, under 25th amendment article 247 was repealed and FATA became the part of KP. In Addition to this, the writ of state was also strengthened by putting an end to the black law of FCR and by extending the jurisdictions of Supreme Court of Pakistan and Peshawar High Court to the tribal areas. Furthermore, the number of KP assembly seats was also increased and the erstwhile FATA was given representation in the KP assembly. The agencies of tribal areas became the districts of KP and the districts are to be governed by an assistant commissioner and a district commissioner unlike the past when the agencies were ruled by the Political agents and assistant political agents. Center and KP government also agreed to give the tribal area 2-3% share in NFC. In the budget 2019-2020, Rs 162 billion have been allocated to the tribal areas for rehabilitation. Positively, local government elections are to be held soon in the erstwhile FATA. Therefore, the FATA-KP merger appears to be one of the major developments in the history of Pakistan.
It is high time for Pashtun tribesmen to cooperate with the government in the process of welcoming development and peace back to the long suffered erstwhile FATA.
It is quite evident that Pakistan has fought her war against terror in a valiant way. Her arch rivals know that it is nearly impossible to beat Pakistan via conventional and a kinetic way, so they have resorted to the unconventional and a grey approach of hybrid warfare against Pakistan. The anti-Pakistan elements have been using the non-kinetic strategy of anti-state propaganda construction to pitch the citizens against their own state. One such propaganda movement, funded and supported by foreign elements, is striving hard to cause an irreparable damage to Pakistan but the top brass of that movement seem to have forgotten the strength of Pakistan forces and the sacrifices they have made for the cause of peace. Also, it is high time for Pashtun tribesmen to cooperate with the government in the process of welcoming development and peace back to the long suffered erstwhile FATA.