The 21st Century Phenomenon



The Pashtu tribes in North West Pakistan have been administered through an agency, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas – FATA, by the central government in a system inherited from British rule since 1947.


In fact Pakistan was governed by two systems in one country – the heartland of the Punjabi people of Pakistan, the Punjab valley and the Southern sea shore were ruled directly by the Pakistani government. The second part of Pakistan, the Pashtu tribes were run by administrative agencies FATA and NWFP. The basic attitude was to leave the stubborn and militant Pashtu people to live their own way of life with minimum interference, which included also minimum economic development and general education. The four millions living in FATA were never integrated into the Pakistani political system and into the Pakistani economy.


Over the last six decades the gape between the Pashtu tribes in the North-West and the Punjabis in the South-East became much wider economically and culturally and they speak different languages. But the neglected Pashtu tribes became the epicenter of the wars with the Russians in Afghanistan in the 80s’ and with the Americans in the last decades. The Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taleban, and alike are, by large extent, the outcome of six decades of neglect in which the Pahtu tribes were mainly used to conduct Pakistan’s wars either in Indian Kashmir or Afghanistan. There is no real long term solution to the stability of Pakistan as united functioning state then to integrate the Pashtu tribes into the Pakistani political system directly and to bring development and progress to the sub developed regions of FATA and NWFP. 


Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has announced, on Friday 08/14/2009, a series of reforms to integrate the country’s war-torn tribal areas (FATA) into mainstream Pakistan. According to new laws political parties will be allowed to operate there directly and represent the region in the national parliament after elections in 2013.


Large sources will be diverted to transportation, communication and education in order to change the political and economical atmosphere of those regions.


Islamabad says that the new laws are a landmark moment for Pakistani politics and will allow people living in the FATA to join and vote for mainstream political parties.


“This breaks the monopoly of clerics to play politics from the pulpit of the Mosque to the exclusion of major secular political parties,” Farhatullah Babar, spokesman for Pakistan’s president said. President Zardari said that he expected the reforms to be passed into law later this month (08/2009).


The reforms are necessary for Pakistan and neighbor Afghanistan as well. It will take years before they will impact the strategic situation but “the sooner the better” (see also – Khalid Khawaja tetimony).
* Related topics – 
03/2009 -AS IF DEMOCRACY  




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