ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of people from tribal areas rallied in Islamabad Monday calling on the government to abolish colonial-era British laws and merge the semi-autonomous northwestern region with the rest of the country.
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are still governed by a century-old legal code known as the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR).
That includes the practice of collective punishment, allowing government authorities to hold entire clans responsible for the crimes of individuals.
The government has approved reforms abolishing the FCR and implementing national laws in the region but the changes are being delayed by political squabbles.
“We are here to press the government to abolish the FCR law and extend the jurisdiction of courts to FATA,” Mian Iftekhar Hussain, one of the speakers, told people at the rally.
“More than 90% of tribesmen also want to merge the tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhw,” Hussain said as up to 2,000 tribesmen shouted slogans such as “Go FCR Go,” and “We demand merger of FATA in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa”.
Shahabuddin Khan, a tribal lawmaker from Bajaur district, said they would continue pressuring the government until the FCR was abolished and the tribal areas were fully incorporated into the rest of Pakistan.
The seven tribal districts in FATA – Bajaur, Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand, North Waziristan, Orakzai and South Waziristan – are home to some five million residents, mainly ethnic Pashtuns.