Specifically, for FATA, and generally, for whole state, the formal approval of FATA reforms, by federal cabinet, was a layer of joy and pleasure. The report contains plethora of provisions that manifest the mainstreaming and impartation of the fundamental justice to the residents of FATA. Along with this, the report also grasps some ignominious parts that might become enigma i.e. Tribal Areas Rewaj Act.
Albeit, the approval of the FATA reforms is one of the landmark in the history of FATA but it also contains its dark side. The bright side of the coin unmasks the mainstreaming, merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and abolition of FCR among others. Contrast to this, the FATA reforms also incorporates numerous defects in the forms of; extended transitional period of five years, replacing FCR by ‘Tribal Areas Rewaj Act’ and legitimacy of Jirga for conducting the legal decisions.
The mainstreaming process was lauded by almost all political actors, with exception to some, for a purpose to emancipate the brutally hit tribal people from the chains of injustices. These injustices were inflicted to them in social, political and legal spheres. Replacing FCR with ‘Tribal Areas Rewaj Act’ and legalizing Jirga in judicial decisions are continuation of same colonial order with distinguished tactics.
The implementation of the ‘Tribal Areas Rewaj Act’ may be proved as a mystery box. Many of the political actors and members of the FATA reforms committee have termed the ‘Tribal Areas Rewaj Act’ synonymous to the tradition of the tribal people. They discarded the impression that it would be antagonistic to the existing laws of the country. But for me, the mystery box of ‘Tribal Areas Reforms Act’ could prove fatal to the fundamental rights in the under mentioned ways.
Firstly, under the ‘Tribal Areas Reforms Act’, the Jirga will act as a jury. The jury would include the tribal chiefs who would be males. These tribal chiefs will legitimize everything in the context of their concerned interest. In this way, it would severely affect two sections of society i.e. women and the poor. As the tribal elders i.e. ‘Malaks’ would become powerful then they must exert the power according to their discretion. Here, Michael Foucault quote might not prove wrong that where there is power there must be its exertion.
Secondly, Rewaj Act will again prove another soft shape of FCR in the prospect of violations of fundamental rights. Though the concept of collective responsibility does not reside under ‘Tribal Areas Rewaj Act’ but still there sustains a possibility of the violation of individual rights for the interest of the few tribal elites.
Thirdly, the jurisdiction of the apex court along with the ‘Tribal Areas Rewaj Act’ is the hybridization of the judicial system of FATA. It is not sure whether both the higher courts and Rewaj Act synchronize with each other or not.
Fourthly, Tribal areas Rewaj Act would become a future mystery. There is possibility that all the ignominious prescript would be adjusted under the umbrella of this act. So therefore, everything needs to be manifested clearly and emphatically.
The codification of the Rewaj Act and its implementation in the region would prove to be hindrance to the acquisition of the modern legal system. Restricting FATA to the ‘Rewaj Act’ will restrict the residents of FATA to the chains and circles of locality.
In a nutshell, it is stated that the umbrella of the ‘Tribal Areas Rewaj Act’ shall either be shattered completely to be emancipated from the mystery or to be manifested clearly and comprehensively.
Writer: Muhammad Anwar
The writer is a freelancer and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE PASHTUN TIMES