Academic journal article South Asian Studies

Political Challenges and Security Issues in FATA and Its Impact on Economic Development

Academic journal article South Asian Studies

Political Challenges and Security Issues in FATA and Its Impact on Economic Development

Article excerpt

Introduction

The people of KPK, voted to join Pakistan through a referendum on 6-7 July 1947 and 99.5% votes were cast in favor of Pakistan. This guide was adopted by all the tribes up to Durand line and the Heads of the Princely states of Dir, Swat, Chitral and Amb. Tribal areas expressed their consent through special Jirgas and made agreement to accept Pakistan as their new suzerain on the same term that existed with the British, though famous instrument of accessions. Tribesmen also attended a Darbar/Joint Jirga in Governor House Peshawar on 17 April 1948 presided over by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. (Pervez 2005, p-30). The present constitutional position of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas is enshrined in Articles 246 and 247 of the 1973 constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Article 246 and 247, 1973). FATA is immense area of Pakistan which lies beside the responsive Pak-afghan border and accounts for 27,220 sq km or 3.4 percent of Pakistan's territory. According to 1973 constitution, FATA take apart from the KPK where FATA is located although the constitution decrees that 'there should be no racial, sectarian, tribal and provincial differences between the people of Pakistan (Raza, 1973, p-73).

The significance of FATA and its location on Pakistan-Afghanistan border offer a distinctive test to Pakistan on different fronts. By studying history, the area remained a hub to imposing contest and also feasible offensive route, the region has consequently been used as a launching pad for maintaining hegemony in Afghanistan. More recently it has emerged as a harbor of terrorist and criminals menace for the national security of Pakistan. The area has a geographical, economic and political importance in that it is a possible route for the fiscal progress of the upcoming newly born Central Asian States. FATA has been a component of the battlefield on which the 'Great Game' of colonial supremacy was executed in the 19th century (Dichers, 1967, p-2). Then for the imperial colonial masters, successful rule of the area was vital as a bulwark against Czarist expansionism in Central Asia. British rulers found it complex to ascertain there authority in the FATA. They oversaw but by no means completely controlled the area through the arrangement of colonial empire chosen agents and tribal leaders, locals were free to run their domestic matters according to tribal codes at the same time British government detained power and what were acknowledged as 'protected' and 'administered' regions on the whole matters linked with British and Indian security. FATA faced the brunt of problems with the invasion of Russian on Afghanistan in 1979. It shared the major brunt in terms of refugees and the resultant narcotics and weapon influx. (Cheema, 2005, p-30).There is thus a requirement to fully integrate these strategically important but neglected areas into the national mainstream while addressing the problems prevalent there. The current account of FATA happened in late 1970s and remained till start 90s, with the attack of the USSR in Afghanistan. Pakistan became a leading country in the Afghan war, of struggle against USSR and the FATA belt of Pakistan became the core logistics course, the induction base and the reinforcement camp for the freedom fighters to wage jihad against the attacking army of USSR.

In the most recent past a new phenomenon in the political history of the area started after the happening of 9/11 and the consequent choice of the government of Pakistan to stay united with the global states, led by the USA in the 'war against terrorism'. This time also Pakistan became the leading state and the FATA has the focus of international attention due to its strategic location. These terrorist attacks on twin towers brought the FATA into the international limelight, the USA and its allies are fighting this menace for over thirteen years in Afghanistan, speculates that these tribal areas are the safe place for terrorists attacks in Afghanistan on US forces. …

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