FATA is a human rights free zone where free human beings have been enslaved since 1901. Pakistan claims that FATA is its constitutional part and has placed it in the Pakistan Constitution of 1973. People in this unfortunate place have experienced inhumane treatment ever since Pakistan came into being in 1947. The miseries and troubles of the inhabitants of FATA increased greatly after 2001. This area was used by terrorists without the consent of the people causing the Pakistani military to launch a counter attack against these terrorists.
Ironically, 15 years have passed but the game of hide and seek continues. Various names have been given to this war against terror in FATA. Almost all names indicated that the war against terrorists was not taken seriously. People of the area in question, particularly women and children and ailing elderly persons, suffered the most. More than 3 million people, mostly women and children, were forced to migrate from their native areas. It took just one order of the military to name an operation against the militants. All the women and children were subject to the scorching sun of June, July and August, in the plains of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The Government of Pakistan, other leading persons and politicians of the country praised the people of FATA, saying that they sacrificed for Pakistan. It was shocking to see over time, that all three provinces, except Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, closed their borders to internally displaced persons. Since 2001 many leading and well-known political and social activists, human rights defenders, women leaders and tribal elders were killed for unknown reasons. Pakistan has ratified all human rights, women rights, children rights and the Universal Human Rights Declaration. But as far as FATA is concerned, Pakistan and other authorities have not taken the violations of human rights in FATA seriously. Even its periodic review has not been sent to the concerned authorities. Pakistan sent its first report for review in 2008, then in 2012. In 2017 there will be a review of Pakistan but in all the reports FATA is missing. It has never been given due weight and importance.
A brief view of human rights violations in FATA in 2016.
1. Pakistani authorities required Tribesmen and women to apply for visas when crossing over to Afghanistan. More than 30,000 people cross back and forth to Pakistan daily since time immemorial. People have a common market, tribal relationships and the same ethnicity. This regulation has caused unrest among those living in FATA, especially in the border areas of both countries.
2. Children are still arrested and locked up. The recent case of Jawad Khan Mullagori is an eye opener. Similarly, students have been taken away from examinations by Khasadar force on orders from the political administration. They have put them behind bars in different agencies and FRs of FATA.
This is a serious violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
3. Men as old as 80 were arrested and incarcerated. A case of the Mohmand Agency is very well known, unconstitutional and against the law. The case of Saida Khan in Mullagori is also in the public eye. He was an octogenarian but was imprisoned.
4. The Mirza Alam Khan Wazir market in Wana South Waziristan was demolished. It had more than 150 shops together with big halls, costing more than 100 million Pakistani Rupees to build.
5. Polio worker, Muhammad Amin Afridi, was killed by terrorists in Jamrud Khyber Agency while performing his duties.
6. Internally Displaced families of Waziristan who crossed over to Afghanistan were not allowed to re-enter Pakistan through the Torkham border.
7. Computerized Identity Cards of thousands of people in the Mohmand Agency were blocked.
8. Government did nothing on the implementation of Article 25A. There are still 1.5 million children not in school in FATA.
9. Government took no action on the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance of 2002 which was implemented in 2004 in FATA.
10. 1,000 schools were closed under a policy called the Rationalization policy of education in FATA. It caused suffering for hundreds of thousands of children and impeded their future.
11. Space has shrunk for NGO’s in FATA. Rights-based NGO’s are not allowed. NOC’s are not given. Social activities have come to a standstill even though the government in 2014, in its National Action Plan, had promised to uplift and develop FATA.
12. Places of Worship and Mosques in Anbar Tehsil of the Mohmand Agency were blown up killing 35 people among them 24 children .
13. Famous, well-known Human Rights activist and political worker of the Pakistani People’s Party, Hamid Hussain Turi, was assassinated.
14. In the Mohmand Agency more than 37 houses were demolished.
15. In the reform process for FATA, NGO’s, women and trans-genders were not consulted.
16. There was no childbirth registration system in FATA in 2016.
17. The ratio permitting child marriages was increased
18. Corporal punishment is on rise in the absence of a law against corporal punishment.
19. NGO personnel, particularly those working against child marriages, faced serious threats after the Islamic Ideology Council called its work blasphemous.
20. Assistant Political Agent of FR Peshawar fined the entire tribe of Rajmirkhel for the wrong doing of one person who absconded.
Issued by: Zar Ali Khan Afridi, Chairperson, FATA Commission of Human Rights, Phone number +92 (0)3015963337 can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views shared in this statement do not necessarily reflect that of the AHRC.