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The Blind FCR

Safdar Wazir

Safdar Wazir

Hitler stated, “When diplomacy ends, War begins”. The white were veteran of diplomacy in their royal ages. After conquering Punjab from Sikhs the great challenge for them was how to deal with scofflaw Tribal population in an area of Pashtun’s belt. They documented FATA as “Excluded area” as keeping the region in dark was need of an hour for them.  British used Machiavellian philosophy to govern this region. Machiavelli in “the Prince” quoted that “A Prince being thus obliged to know well how to act as a beast must imitate the Fox and Lion, for the Lion can’t protect himself from traps and the Fox can’t defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a Fox to recognize traps and a lion to frighten wolves”. British act as Fox to design a best infrastructure for controlling the region and as a Lion to use local Maliks (leaders) as their puppets. Frontier crime regulation is an imperial black law which abolished the right to Appeal (legal requests), Wakeel (legal presentation) and Daleel (legal argumentation) of tribal residents. It’s history roots backs to Murderous Outrage Regulation 1867 where for first time the Government of India passed the draconian statute to execute and dispose of individuals identified as “fanatics”. For first time a “license to kill” was granted. It was amended with passage of time and the authorities were made more and more coercive to control the area. The MOR 1877 was called “Ghazi act” where authorities were further empowered. Durand line in 1893 divided the region, which caused maximization of violence as it was against the tribal wishes. To control the situation Punjab was separated from the then called North west frontier province and a new act was passed in 1901 which was called as Frontier crime regulation. The new act was applied to the whole clain rather than individuals and political agents were made local kings to enforce it. The same laws were adopted after partition and are still applicable after six decades.

The basic clause of this draconian law is

  1. Collective tribal territorial responsibility/ collective punishment clause (No.21).
  2. Confinement of an individual without due process
  3. Political agent as executive and judicial authority
    The inhuman laws of 40 FCR ignore the breach of fundamental rights and abolish all kind of necessary freedom.

Now and then voices were raised against the system but no practical measures were taken. Each time a committee was formed to bring the region into mainstream legal setup but unfortunately they failed each time. The same FCR was quite earlier abolished from few areas of KPK and Baluchistan but it still remains the fate of tribal. North West frontier committee, justice Naimat Ullah committee, justice Hamood ur Rehman commission and sheikh Abdul Hamid committee were few committee means to sketch a proper infrastructure for the region. Few steps were taken in previous government to abolish the black law which were appreciative. The current government needs to pursue their descendent and draw a new strategic structure for governing the region. Hitler said, “if you want to shine like Sun, first you have to burn like it”. The people of FATA have really burned so they need to shine now.

By Safdar Wazir

The writer is a Political Science student at Government College University Lahore. He can be reached at



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