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83 Challenges Facing Development in Pakistan’s FATA Ijaz Khan Ijaz Khan is Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations, University of Peshawar. Dr. Khan’s research interests include international relations, foreign policy, religious extremism, and terrorism in Pakistan and Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). His most recent book is Pakistan’s Strategic Culture and Foreign Policy Making (2007). He can be reached at . 84 Executive Summary This essay addresses the challenges facing development in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Main Argument: This essay finds that the Pakistani government’s policies cannot bring the fundamental changes required for meaningful development of the region. First, Pakistan’s ambivalent posture toward the fight against terrorism—seeking to contain rather than eliminate militancy—has gradually undermined the country’s ability to pursue successful developmental projects. In addition, the government’s failure to understand and respond to the FATA’s evolving socioeconomic landscape and power structure has seriously compromised Islamabad’s ability to implement suitable developmental changes. Policy Implications: • The most successful changes in the FATA have only favored a small minority of the population. Efforts must be made to ensure that the benefits of development reach the FATA’s predominantly illiterate, isolated, and impoverished population. • Development strategy must be formulated in such a manner as to transform not just a few tribesmen—who after transformation become isolated from their tribal society, leaving that society unchanged—but rather the entire FATA society. • Development of the FATA without fundamental changes to its outdated administrative system and isolated constitutional status cannot yield positive results. All efforts must be made to fully integrate the FATA into Pakistan with policies reflecting the FATA’s evolving socio-economic landscape and power structure. • Pakistan’s government must ensure that various non-governmental developmental agents have secure access to the FATA. • Political reform is needed that ensures the FATA’s population is involved in developmental decisionmaking institutions. • Pakistan’s political parties should be allowed to operate within the tribal areas, thus encouraging popular participation in strengthening the FATA’s stake in the federation. • The writ of the higher judiciary must also be extended to the FATA. 85 khan T his essay addresses the challenges facing development in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), a special administrative region enjoying vast internal autonomy with minimal state oversight. Due to the area’s special constitutional status, isolation, and proximity to and shared ethnicity with Afghanistan, the FATA has become a safe haven for extremists and terrorists following the overthrow of the Taliban government in Afghanistan in 2001. As a result, the region is now the focus of international concern and the center of the war on terrorism. With U.S. support and prodding, the Pakistani government has initiated a comprehensive three-pronged political, military, and developmental strategy to break the FATA’s isolation and rid the area of militancy. Focusing on the developmental element of that strategy, this study finds that the government’s policies are not geared to achieve any of the fundamental changes required for meaningful development of the region. Furthermore, Pakistan’s ambivalent posture toward the war on terrorism has gradually undermined Islamabad’s ability even to pursue successful development projects. This essay begins with a brief summary of the current political-administrative structure of the FATA. It then identifies Pakistan’s strategy for developing the FATA— noting earlier government attempts to develop the area, especially those made during Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government (December 1971–April 1977). The next section discusses the FATA’s evolving socio-economic landscape and power structure and points to the futility of the Pakistani government’s reliance on outdated politicaladministrative structures in light of these changes. Focusing on the deleterious impact of militancy on development initiatives, the essay then examines the rise of militancy in the FATA. The essay concludes by discussing the Pakistani government’s current inability to bring effective change to the region. FATA’s Political-Administrative Structure According to the system established by the British, the FATA consists of seven administrative units, which are known as political agencies, and six frontier regions.1 There is also one Provincially Administered Tribal Area (PATA)—Malakand Agency. The FATA is directly administered by the federal government through the governor of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), while each agency is administered by a political agent (PA). The PA is also the judicial officer, against whose decision there is no right of appeal. 1 For an account of the FATA...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781939131256
MARC Record
OCLC
868221262
Pages
160
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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