The Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) is located strategically between the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and the settled areas of KPK (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). FATA both historically and traditionally had a unique administrative and political status from the British times since 1849. However, in 1893, a boundary was raised with Afghanistan called the Durand Line. They controlled the area through a combination of active Political Agents and tribal elders while leaving the people with their traditions and internal independence. Pakistan inherited this system and more or less continues with it even today. Since the independence of Pakistan, FATA has not been accorded the same priority regarding the development process being undertaken in other parts of the country. The development initiatives and allocations in FATA followed a compartmentalized approach benefiting a few influential and politically active sections. This ad hoc approach deprived large segments of the population of social uplift, and economic empowerment.
FATA has been one of the affected areas of Anti-Taliban Military Operation carried out by the Armed Forces. After the eviction of the Taliban in 2010, the challenge of the restoration of peace and security was met however the region remained backward since.
The population of the seven Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) has 5.2 million and comprise seven Agencies, namely Khyber, Kurram, Bajaur, Mohmand, Orakzai, North and South Waziristan and six FRs (Frontier Regions) namely FR Peshawar, FR Kohat, FR Tank, FR Banu, FR Lakki and FR Dera Ismail Khan.
Problems in FATA:
Women And Schools:
Allow sharing the problems and the injustice to women inside FATA. They are not given equal rights. In most areas in FATA, we do not have girls schools. Most girls go to boys schools up to primary schools. Once they are promoted to upper classes, they stop going to schools because the culture does not allow women to sit along with boys in the same school or go in front of male teachers. This way, they are deprived of education because of social taboos attached to it. They are compelled to sit at home instead of from a very early age.
Women And Elections:
Like in four provinces of Pakistan; Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, women get reserved seats. What is disturbing is that women candidates are heavily discouraged from participating in politics, and are instead pushed to the back. Resultantly, she does not get represented nor is there any redressal mechanism for her complaints. Whenever there is talk about human rights, women of FATA are grossly neglected. If a woman can’t contest for the seats then why are reserved seats provided for them? It is apparent that their rights are hidden by law. The persons who sit in Assembly make policies for their representatives, but who will make a plan for FATA women if they do not have any representation there. There is such type of problems which is only faced by women; The male elected member cannot understand their grievances as they cannot comprehend women’s demands.
Carrying Water From The Mountains
Usually, in FATA people bring drinking water from springs located at the mountainside. This drinking water is brought by women in pitchers which they carry over their heads. Even young girls, despite being weak, have to perform this task because they can’t risk raising their voice in her tradition-stringent society. Whereas, men consume this water without even caring for women who have to bear the arduous and fatiguing task for their household. It takes the full day to bring water and their evenings are consumed by cooking for the entire family and get her share of food at last after serving food to all at home.
Women and Health:
In FATA, women’s health is traditionally neglected even if she falls ill. The male family members consider it shameful for a woman to enter the city for the hospital. Most of the tribal elders do not show their female to male doctors. In FATA you will find very few female doctors, and if there is any profession health need, there are just a few nurses or Lady Health Workers available. The family members will bring sample tablets from the medical store for women, and that will be her treatment which can have drastic effects in the absence of professional medical help. The conditions in the hospital where women patients are kept are inhuman and worse than animals kept behind bars at the zoo. There is a lack of awareness of all the things where female are suffering from many diseases. Many diseases are transferred to children by sick mothers as a result, and there is no health awareness about preventive ailments.
Traditionally in FATA, a woman who doesn’t express her feelings is looked down up, as if it is criminal for her in her society. For her, freedom of expression or making a demand for her rights is not considered respectable. For example, if she wishes for different flavors of food, she feels handicap in expressing her will for those. Major life decisions are taken by her male family members, and she cannot have a say to deny such choices. She is merely relying on her luck for good companionship. However, I have seen or met many females who are not happy in their lives, nor can they complain about fear of public disputes against her husband. The only relieve she can hope for is waiting until her son grows up and fulfills her demands.
Millitany & Terrorism:
Since 9/11, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) has emerged as the region worst hit by terrorist attacks in the country. Thousands of tribesmen killed, thousands of them injured, hundreds of schools destroyed and thousands of homes crushed to the ground. Almost 40% of the 5 million people living in Fata have been internally displaced, with nowhere to go.