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    Posted March 15, 2014 by
    Peshawar, Pakistan
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    Centuries old law made People life worst in Fata,Pakistan


    The Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) is a 1901 legal, administrative and judicial framework for governing FATA enacted by British colonial authorities as a way to keep the area's unruly Pashtun tribes under control. Administrative officials, called political agents, were appointed by the central government and given wide powers including that of detention without review and collective punishment. The political agent was also given large amounts of money to secure the loyalty of local tribal leaders.

    The FCR was adopted by an independent Pakistan in 1947 and is widely criticized as a breach of human rights.Currently, FATA is under direct rule by the federal government but federal laws, which govern the rest of Pakistan, do not apply in the region.

    The FCR was amended by the former Pakistan Peoples Party government through executive order in 2011 with the aim of bringing it into line with Pakistan's penal code and giving FATA residents the same legal rights as other Pakistanis including the right to access Pakistan's court system.

    FATA's population, estimated in the 1998 census -- the most recent -- at 3.2 million spread over 11,000 square miles, is governed directly by Pakistan's federal government and the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Civil servants are appointed as political agents by the federal government and hold legislative, judicial, and executive authority.

    As part of his administrative functions, the political agent oversees the working of line departments and service providers. He is responsible for handling inter-tribal disputes over boundaries or the use of natural resources, and for regulating the trade in natural resources with other districts within FATA or with the provinces. The political agent plays a supervisory role for development projects and chairs an agency development sub-committee, comprising various government officials, to recommend proposals and approve development projects. He also serves as project coordinator for rural development schemes.

    Previous to the 2011 amendments, only tribal leaders and elders were allowed to vote in national elections for handpicked candidates. Now all adults can vote but despite a change in the law that allows for the organization of political parties, no candidate ran as a member of a party in the previous national elections. The amendments do not, however, allow for elections at the local level and FATA members of the Pakistani parliament still have no authority to pass legislation for the area as it remains under direct executive authority of the president of Pakistan.

    The changes to the FCR also created the FATA tribunal made up of one retired judge and a senior civil servant of Pakistan. When residents are accused of a crime and arrested, the authorities must produce the accused in front of the tribunal within 24 hours. Residents can also use the tribunal to appeal a verdict

    Despite the fact that the amendments have allowed for greater political participation and an improved judicial system, experts say it is simply not enough and that the key issue is Pakistan's constitution itself.

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