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The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistanmarker are areas bordering Afghanistanmarker, outside the four provinces, comprising a region of some 27,220 km² (10,507 sq mi). The area has Afghanistanmarker to the north-west, North-West Frontier Provincemarker (NWFP) to the east and Balochistanmarker to the south. The area is colloquially referred to as Pakistan's Tribal Belt or Pak tribal belt.


Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)
The FATA are bordered by: Afghanistanmarker to the west with the border marked by the Durand Line, the NWFP and the Punjabmarker to the east, and Balochistanmarker to the south.

The seven Tribal Areas lie in a north-to-south strip that is adjacent to the west side of the six Frontier Regions , which also lie in a north-to-south strip. The areas within each of those two regions are geographically arranged in a sequence from north to south.

The geographical arrangement of the seven Tribal Areas in order from north to south is:Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Orakzai, Kurram, North Waziristan, South Waziristan.The geographical arrangement of the six Frontier Regions in order from north to south is:Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Tank, Dera Ismael Khan.

Administrative divisions

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas consists of seven Tribal Areas and are called the agencies, which are from north to south:

Agencies are further divided into Assistant Political Agencies, subdivisions, and tehsils. According to the Election Commission of Pakistan, the FATA consists of the following divisions:

Agency Assistant Political Agency Subdivision Tehsil
Khyber Agency Bara Bara None
Jamrud Jamrud Town Committee Jamrud

Jamrud Tehsil

Mullah Gori Tehsil
Landi Kotal Landi Kotal Town Committee, Landi Kotal

Landi Kotal Tehsil
Mohmand Agency Upper Mohmand Upper Mohmand Safi Tehsil

Upper Mohmand Tehsil

Talimzai Tehsil
Jamrud Jamrud Town Committee Jamrud

Jamrud Tehsil

Mullah Gori Tehsil
Yakka Ghund Lower Mohmand Pindyali Tehsil

Ambar Tehsil

Yakka Ghund Tehsil

Prang Ghar Tehsil
Bajaur Agency Khar Khar Khar Tehsil

Salarzai Tehsil

Uthman Khel Tehsil
Nawagai Nawagai Mamund Tehsil

Chamarkand Tehsil

Nawagai Tehsil

Barrang Tehsil
Orakzai Agency Upper Tehsil Upper Tehsil Upper Tehsil

Ismailzai Tehsil
Lower Tehsil Lower Tehsil Lower Tehsil

Central Tehsil
Kurram Agency Upper Kurram Upper Kurram Town Committee, Parachinar

Upper Kurram
Lower Kurram Lower Kurram Town Committee Sadda

Lower Kurram
Frontier Region, Kurram None None
North Waziristan Agency Miram Shah Miram Shah Town Committee, Miram Shah

Miram Shah Tehsil

Ghulam Khan Tehsil

Datta Khel Tehsil
Mir Ali Mir Ali Mir Ali Tehsil

Spinwam Tehsil

Shewa Tehsil
Razmak Razmak Razmak Tehsil

Dossali Tehsil

Garyum Tehsil
South Waziristan Agency Sarwakai Sarwakai Sarwakai Tehsil

Tiarza Tehsil
Ladha Ladha Ladha Tehsil

Sararogha Tehsil

Makin Tehsil
Wana Wana Wana Tehsil

Bermal Tehsil

Toi Khullah Tehsil

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas consist of six Frontier Regions as well, and they are usually situated as buffer areas between the Settled Areas of NWFP and Tribal Agencies. They are from north to south in order:

The only difference is that the Frontier Regions, are controlled by the Deputy Commissioner Officer or the District Coordinating officer of adjacent City of NWFP who report to the provincial government, while in Tribal Agencies total control is with the political officer of that agency.

Main cities


The total population of the FATA was estimated in 2000 to be about 3,341,070 people, or roughly 2% of Pakistan's population. Only 3.1% of the population resides in established townships. It is thus the most rural administrative unit in Pakistan.

Federal type of governance of FATA and Frontier Regions

The region is only nominally controlled by the central and Federal government of Pakistan. The President of Pakistan has the authority only to implement the rules in FATA.

He appoints and nominates the Governor of NWFP who exercises the power of the president.

The Constitution of Pakistan Governs FATA through the same rules which were left by British in 1901 as Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR).

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.

The NWFP Provincial Assembly has no power in FATA, and can only exercise its powers in PATA that are part of NWFP. The assembly cannot implement the law directly as it can do in other parts of the province or Settled Areas of NWFP.

This has created a political vacuum in FATA, Frontier Regions and PATA, which serves the interests of terrorists very well, as there is absence of various government departments like police, judiciary, local governments, and civic amenities. There are no High Courts and Supreme Courts of Pakistan in Tribal Areas.

According to journalist Ahmed Rashid, author of Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia, it is in reality practically entirely controlled by the Pakistani Taliban.

The mainly Pashtun tribes that inhabit the areas are fiercely independent and peaceful. Until friction following the fall of the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistanmarker, the tribes had friendly relations with Pakistan's central government.

These Tribes are governed by the Collective Punishment or Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR), introduced under the British Raj.

People of FATA are represented both in the National Assembly of Pakistan by 12 independent Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) who are elected. They are represented in the Senate of Pakistan by eight senators who are selected by these 12 MNAs, mostly by the amount of money they possess. FATA has no representation in the Provincial Assembly of NWFP, although they live a few yards apart and are Pashtuns.

Tribal political candidates have some party affiliations but can only contest elections as independents, because the Political Parties Act of Pakistan has not been extended to the FATA. However, tribesmen were given right to vote in the 1997 general elections despite the absence of the Political Parties Act. Previously they were selected by Tribal Elders or Maliks for the last one hundred years.

The head of each tribal agency is the political agent who represents the President of Pakistan and the appointed Governor of NWFP. The political agent wields extensive powers over the Tribesmen and can give Collective punishment through Frontier Crimes Regulations. These punishments are considered as not according to Human Rights Conventions.

According to a 2007 report by the New York Times, "the political agents are widely considered corrupt bureaucrats of Pakistan Civil Service."

Each Tribal Agency, depending on its size, has about two to three Assistant Political Agents, about three to four Tehsildars and four to nine Naib (or deputy) Tehsildars with the requisite supporting staff.

While the difference only in the chain of command of each Frontier Region from FATA is that it is headed by the DC/DCO or Deputy Commissioner Officer, (for FR Peshawar, DC/DCO Peshawar and so on). Under his supervision there is one Assistant Political Agent and about one or two Tehsildars and Naib Tehsildars and support staff.

Each Tribal Agency has roughly 2-3,000 Khasadars and levies force of irregulars and up to five to nine wings of Frontier Corps Border Rangers or Civilian Armed Forces, for maintenance of law and order in the Agency and borders security. The Frontier Corps Force is headed by army officers posted by the general headquarters of the Pakistan Army, and it reports to Interior Ministry of Pakistan and is under Federal Government.

According to a 2009 BBC survey, categorized as "grossly exaggerated" by the Pakistan Army which was fighting the militants there, the Taliban were present in all FATA agencies, and in full control of Waziristan, Orakzai and Bajaur.

Women and voting

All of the FATA's adults were legally allowed to vote in the Majlis-e-Shoora of Pakistan under the "adult franchise" granted in 1996. Stephen Tierney, in Accommodating National Identity, reported that women came out to do so in the thousands for the 1997 office, possibly motivated by competition for voter numbers among the tribes. However, Ian Talbot in Pakistan, a Modern History states that elders and religious leaders attempted to prevent female participation by threatening punishment against tribesmen whose women registered, leading to under-registration in the female population. In 2008, the Taliban ordered women in the FATA regions of Bajaurmarker, Kurram and Mohmandmarker not to vote under threat of "serious punishment," while Mangal Bagh, chief of the Lashkar-e-Islam, forbade women to vote in the Jamrudmarker and Bara subdivisions of the Khyber Agencymarker.


Historical populations
Census Population Urban

1951 1,332,005 -
1961 1,847,195 1.33%
1972 2,491,230 0.53%
1981 2,198,547 -
1998 3,176,331 2.69%

The region was annexed in the 19th century during the British colonial period, and though the British never succeeded in completely calming unrest in the region, it afforded them some protection from Afghanistanmarker. The British Raj attempted to control the population of the annexed tribal regions with the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR), which allowed considerable power to govern to local nobles so long as these nobles were willing to meet the needs of the British. Due to the unchecked discretionary power placed into the hands of the jirga put into place by these nobles and to the human rights violations that ensued, the FCR has come to be known as the "black law." The annexed areas continued under the same governance after the Partition of India, through the Dominion of Pakistan in 1946 and into the Islamic Republic of Pakistanmarker in 1956.

According to the United States Institute of Peace, the character of the region underwent a shift beginning in the 1980s with the entry into the region of the Mujahideen and CIA Operation Cyclone, against the Soviet Unionmarker leading to fall of the Berlin Wallmarker and collapse of Soviet Union.

Voting and parliamentary representation

In 1996, the government of Pakistan finally granted the FATA the long requested "adult franchise", under which every adult would have the right to vote for their own representatives in the Majlis-e-Shoora. However, the FATA were not allowed to organize political parties. Islamist candidates were able to campaign through mosques and madrassahs, as a result of which mullahs were elected to represent the FATA in the National Assembly in 1997 and 2002. This was a departure from prior tribal politics, where power was focused in the hands of secular authorities, Maliks.

Rise of the Taliban

In 2001, the Taliban and al-Qaeda began entering into the region. In 2003, Taliban and al-Qaeda forces sheltered in the FATA began crossing the border into Afghanistanmarker , attacking military and police. Shkin, Afghanistan is a key location for these frequent battles. This heavily fortified military base has housed mostly American special operations forces since 2002 and is located just six kilometers from the Pakistani border. It is considered the most dangerous location in Afghanistan. With the encouragement of the United Statesmarker, 80,000 Pakistani troops entered the FATA in March 2004 to search for al-Qaeda operatives. They were met with fierce resistance from the Taliban. It was not the elders, but the Taliban who negotiated a Truce with the army, giving an indication of the extent to which the Taliban had taken control. Eight more times between 2004 and 2006 troops entered the region, into South Waziristan and North Waziristan, and faced further Taliban resistance. Peace Accords entered into in 2004 and 2006 set terms whereby the tribesmen in the area would stop attacking Afghanistan and the Pakistanis would halt major military actions against the FATA, release all prisoners and permit tribesmen to carry small guns.

Pakistan’s new Waziristan strategy

On June 4, 2007, the National Security Council of Pakistan met to decide the fate of Waziristan and take up a number of political and administrative decisions to control "Talibanization" of the area. The meeting was chaired by President Pervez Musharraf and it was attended by the Chief Ministers and Governors of all four provinces. They discussed the deteriorating law and order situation and the threat posed to state security. To crush the armed militancy in the Tribal regions and the NWFP, the government decided to intensify and reinforce law enforcement and military activity, take action against certain madrassahs, and jam illegal FM radio stations.


FATA is the most impoverished part of the nation, with a per capita income of only half the national average of $500 in 2008 and only 34% of households managing to rise above poverty level.

Due to the FATA's tribal organization, the economy is chiefly pastoral, with some agriculture practiced in the region's few fertile valleys. Its total irrigated land is roughly 1,000 square kilometres. The country does not have a system of banks. The region is a major center for opium trafficking, as well the smuggling of other contraband.

Foreign aid to the region is a difficult proposition, according to Craig Cohen, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.marker Because security is difficult, local nongovernmental organizations are required to distribute aid, but there is a lack of trust amongst NGOs and other powers that hampers distribution. Pakistani NGOs are often targets of violent attacks by Islamist militants in the FATA. There is so much hostility to any hint of foreign influence, that the American branch of Save the Children was distributing funding anonymously in the region as of July 2007.


The FATA contain proved commercially viable reserves of marble, copper, limestone and coal. However, in the current socio-political conditions, there is no chance of their exploitation in a profitable manner.


Industrialization of the FATA is another route or remedy proposed for a rapid breaking up of the tribal barriers and promoting the cause of integration. The process of industrialization through a policy of public/private partnership would not only provide employment opportunities and economic benefits but also assist in bringing the youth of the tribal area at par with those of the developed cities in the rest of the country.

Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs)

The concept of setting up ROZs in FATA and Afghanistan is an element in the United Statesmarker Government's counter-terrorism and regional economic integration strategies.

Irrigation projects

Water is scarce in the FATA. When the British forces occupied Malakand they started work on the Amandara headworks to divert the water from the Swat Rivermarker through a tunnel to irrigate the plains of Mardan and Charsadda. The aim was not to get more wheat or sugarcane, but to ‘tame the wild tribes’.


The FATA does not have a university. A system of reserved seats is kept in universities in Pakistan. There is no concrete plan to make a full-fledged university there to benefit them.

The FATA's literacy rate is 17.42%, which is well below the 43.92% average in Pakistan. 29.51% of the males, and only 3% of females receive education whereas on average throughout the nation 32% of women do.


There is one hospital bed for every 2,179 people in the FATA, compared to one in 1,341 in Pakistan as a whole. There is one doctor for every 7,670 people compared to one doctor per 1,226 people in Pakistan as a whole. 43% of FATA citizens have access to clean drinking water. Much of the population is suspicious about modern medicine, and some militant groups are openly hostile to vaccinations.

In June 2007, a Pakistani Doctor was blown up in his car "after trying to counter the anti-vaccine propaganda of an imam in Bajaurmarker", Pakistani officials told the New York Times.

See also


External links

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