Mr. Zar Ali khan Afridi, Defend International coordinator in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), has issued a brief report on violations of human rights in FATA, which are directly governed by Pakistan’s government through the Frontier Crimes Regulations, i.e., the laws that deprive the residents of FATA of three basic human rights namely, (1) appeal, (2) wakeel (the right to legal representation) and (3) daleel (the right to present reasoned evidence).
Human Rights situation in Federally Administered Tribal Areas
December 10, 2016
By Zar Ali Khan Afridi
FATA is a human rights free zone, where free human beings have been enslaved since 1901. Pakistan claims that FATA is its constitutional part and has placed it in Pakistan constitution of 1973. People of this unfortunate part have been experiencing inhuman treatment meted out to them even after Pakistan came into being since 1947. The miseries and troubles of the inhabitants of FATA increased many times after 2001. This area was used by terrorists without consent of its people and Pakistan military launched a counter attack against the terrorists.
The irony of fate is that 15 years have passed, but the game of hide and seek is still going on though dozens of different names have been given to war against terror in FATA. Almost all names indicated that war against terrorists was not taken serious, and people of the area in question particularly women and children and ailing aged persons suffered the most. More than 3 million people mostly women and children were forced to migrate from their native areas by just one order of the military on name of operation against militants. Millions of children and women experienced scorching sun of June, July and August in the plains of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The government of Pakistan and leading persons and politicians of this country praised the people of FATA saying that they sacrificed for Pakistan. It was very shocking to see that all three provinces except Khyber Pakhtunkhwa closed their respective entrances over the Internally Displaced Persons by time. Since 2001 many leading and well known political and social activists, human rights defenders, women leaders and tribal elders got sacrificed for unknown reasons.
Pakistan has ratified all human rights, women rights, children rights and Universal Human Rights Declaration but as far as FATA is concerned Pakistan and its authority have not taken seriously the violations of human rights in FATA. Even its report for periodic review has not been sent to concerned authority. Pakistan sent its first report in year 2008 for review, then in 2012 and now in 2017 there will be a review of Pakistan but in all reports FATA is missing and has never been given due weight and importance.
Below are few gross human rights violations in FATA in year 2016:
1. Pakistan authority asked Tribesmen and tribes women to get visa while crossing over to Afghanistan. More than 30000 people cross to and back to Pakistan daily since time immemorial. Both people are having common market, tribal relations and same ethnicity. This has caused a great unrest among people living in FATA specially border areas of both the countries.
2. Children are still arrested and locked. Recent case of Jawad Khan Mullagori is an eye opening. Similarly students from examinations have been taken away by Khasadar force on order of political administration and put them behind bars in different agencies and FRs of FATA. This is serious violation of Convention on the Rights of Child.
3. Men as old as 80 were arrested and put behind bars. A case of Mohmand Agency is very well known. This is also unconstitutional and against law of the land. Case of Saida Khan in Mullagori is also a known case. He was an octogenarian and was locked in jail.
4. The market of Mirza Alam Khan Wazir in Wana South Waziristan was demolished. It consisted of more than 150 shops and big halls. It costed more than 100 million Pakistani Rupees.
5. Polio worker Muhammad Amin Afridi was killed by terrorists in Jamrud Khyber Agency while he was busy performing his duty.
6. Internally Displaced families of Waziristan crossed over to Afghanistan were not allowed to reenter into Pakistan through Torkham boder.
7. Computerized Identity Cards of thousands of people in Mohmand Agency were blocked.
8. Government did nothing for implementation of Article 25 A. Still 1.5 million children are out of schools in FATA.
9. Government did nothing for Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2002 which was implemented in 2004 in FATA.
10. 1000 schools in FATA were closed under a policy called Rationalization policy of education in FATA. It suffered hundreds of thousands of children and their future.
11. In FATA space has been shrunk for NGOs. Rights based NGOs are not allowed. NOCs are not given. Social activities have come to a standstill though government in 2014 in National Action Plan had promised to work for uplift and development of FATA.
12. Worship place or mosque in Anbar Tehsil of Mohmand Agency was blown up.
13. Famous and well known Human Rights activist and a political worker of Pakistan People’s Party Hamid Hussain Turi was assassinated.
14. In mohmand agency more than 37 houses were demolished.
15. In reforms process for FATA NGOs, women and Trans genders were not consulted.
16. Child birth registration system in FATA was absent in 2016.
17. Ratio in child marriages was increased.
18. Corporal punishment is on rise in absence of law against corporal punishment.
19. NGO workers, especially those working against child marriages, faced serious threats after Islamic Ideology Council called it blasphemous.
20. Assistant Political Agent of FR Peshawar fined whole tribe of Rajmirkhel for a wrong doing of one person who was absconder.
Zar Ali Khan Afridi
Defend International Coordinator in FATA
President, FATA Commission of Human Rights
Executive Director, Society for Rights and Development
Chairperson, Tribal NGOs Consortium(FATA)
Coordinator, Child Rights Movement-FATA
Coordinator, National Action and Coordination Group-FATA
Coordinator, Fight Against Dowry Advocacy Network-FATA