Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) , Pakistan

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The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are semi-autonomous tribal region in northwestern Pakistan bordered by Afghanistan to the north and west with the border marked by the Durand Line, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the east, and Balochistan to the south. It comprise 7 tribal agencies (districts) and 6 frontier regions.The seven Tribal Areas lie in a north-to-south strip : Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Orakzai, Kurram, North Waziristan, South Waziristan, and is adjacent to the west side of the six Frontier Regions, which also lie in a north-to-south strip : Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Tank, Dera Ismail Khan. Pashtuns are dominant population in these areas. Historically these areas are disputed with Afghanistan which also claims the territory.

People of FATA are represented in the Parliament of Pakistan by their elected representatives both in National Assembly(12)  and the Senate(8)  but has no representation in the Provincial Assembly of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Political activity was an alien concept in FATA till 2011 when the Political Parties Order (2002) was extended to the seven tribal agencies. Till 2011, no political activity was allowed in FATA and parties were not allowed to have units in the tribal agencies.

FATA are directly (under executive orders) governed by Pakistan's federal government (Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa -formerly NWFP ,on behalf of the President) through a special set of laws called the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) and none of their legislators elected can actually legislate for FATA. The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Assembly has no power in FATA, and can only exercise its powers in Provincially Administered Tribal Areas that are part of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The Civil Secretariat FATA was established to take over decision-making functions of developmental projects ( by Line department). The KPK Governor Secretariat plays a coordinating role for interaction between the federal and provincial governments and the Civil Secretariat FATA.

Each tribal agency is administered by a political agent, assisted by a number of assistant political agents and 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 agencies or the settled areas.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.

The Jurisdiction of Supreme Court and High Court of Pakistan does not extend to FATA and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA), according to Article 247 and Article 248, of existing 1973 Constitution of Pakistan. All civil and criminal cases in FATA are decided under the Frontier Crimes Regulation 1901 by a jirga (council of elders). Residents of the tribal areas may, however, approach the apex courts (Supreme Court of Pakistan and Peshawar High Court) with a constitutional writ challenging a decision issued under the 1901 Regulation. FATA is divided into two administrative categories: protected areas are regions under the direct control of the government, while non-protected areas are administered indirectly through local tribes.

FATA elects members to the federal legislature through adult franchise. The system of devolution introduced elsewhere in the country in 2001 by means of provincial Local Government Ordinances (LGOs) has not been extended to the tribal areas. A separate LGO for FATA has been drafted and is awaiting promulgation. A system of partial local-level governance does, however, operate through councils in the tribal agencies and FRs. Elected councilors are involved in various aspects of development planning and decision making.

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