The Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR): A Socio Political Assessment
Central Asia issue No.70. Summer 2012, pp. 1-14
12 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2016
Date Written: 2012
The Frontier Crimes Regulations (1901), a colonial legacy, has been an administrative framework, governing the so-called tribal areas along the Durand Line. According to Articles 246 and 247 of the Constitution, neither the Parliament of Pakistan nor the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa can legislate for FATA. The President of Pakistan issues decrees in matters related to the Tribal Areas and in this respect the Governor, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, acts as the Agent to the President. For the purpose of administration, the FCR is the only available tool in the hands of the Political Agent/Deputy Commissioner to maintain writ of the state. All offences are dealt under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC 1898) and procedure is provided by the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr. PC) and Civil Procedure Code (CPC) as the case may be. In dispensation of such acts the Presiding Officer is assisted by the Council of Elders or Jirga, nominated by him, for the purpose. Responding to criticism by legal experts, Human Right groups and the tribesmen, to the FCR in general and its provisions pertaining to collective responsibility, various governments initiated reforms. Numerous committees and various reports recommended reform to improve different administrative and legal dispensations. The most recent has been introduced in August 2011, wherein the Political Parties Act was extended to FATA and the FCR was also amended. Despite the same, the Regulation, yet an inappropriate legal-cum administrative arrangement failing in guarantying the rights of the tribal people, is still in vogue. In fact, due to the so-called Special Status of FATA, the areas lag behind the rest of the country so far as social, political and economic development is concerned. The jurisdiction of the higher courts i.e., High Court and Supreme Court, have not been extended and judicial powers still are centered in the office of Presiding Officer, defying justice and fair trial. This legal vacuum has drastically jeopardized peace and the socio-political development of the tribal belt. In these circumstances, the special status or status quo in FATA needs to be re-visited.
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