FATA (Federal Administrative Tribal Areas) the area which is considered as a piece of heaven on earth, due to its beautiful scenery and landscapes. Its geo-strategic location furthers its significance. FATA remained a battleground to the Great Games of imperials during the 19th century.
For the British Colonial Administrators of India, it was very important to safeguard the region against the Russian Expansionism, although it was very difficult for Colonial government to establish their strong writ in the tribal areas. That is why the railway track of Landi Kotal was built to maintain the writ of the British colonials but failed to control the region.
People in FATA suffered a lot in this dirty, lethal, futile war on terror. Had there been no war or terror incident, we might have earn billions of dollars through tourism. Alas! everything – from social bonds to tourism industry – shattered like a piece of mirror as Pakistan plunged into war.
When colonial administrators failed in their efforts to control the region then they imposed a law Frontier Crime Regulation (FCR) in 1901. These regulations imposed a special procedures for the tribal areas, distinct from the criminal and civil laws that were imposed in rest of the British India. The British Colonial ruled FATA through their appointed agents and local tribal elders known as Maliks. They were designated as mediator between members of individual tribes and colonial authorities. The tribal locals were free to govern their internal affairs according to their tribal codes, only t he external security related issues were controlled by colonial authorities.
After the Independence in 1948 the tribes in the region entered into an agreement with the government of Pakistan, the agreement granted the tribal areas a special administrative status and retained its semi-autonomous status , exercising administrative authority based on tribal codes and traditions.
Everything was normal until the start of Soviet Afghan war in 1979. When Soviet invaded Afghanistan to protect the Afghan government against the rebels , USA also intervened in war in the favor of rebels, because that was the c old war era and the international system was bipolar and both USA and USSR tried to maintain Balance of Power in the World. On the other hand USA also eased up their cordial relations with Pakistan, because Pakistan shared its northwestern border with Afghanistan. USA provided financial assistance to Pakistan and Pakistan in return with the collaboration of US army trained Mujahedeen forces and deployed in Afghanistan against Soviet forces.
The training camps of Mujahedeens were in FATA. Actually FATA was used as a launching Pad in Soviet-Afghan War. In fact it would be justified to say that FATA was a military base during the war. With the help of Mujahedeen USA defeated USSR in Afghanistan in 1989. Due to which Soviet became weak economically and politically and disintegrated in 1991 which cleared the path for USA to emerge as a sole super power in the World.
Before the 9/11 attacks Pakistan government did not paid sufficient attention to FATA. Weapons supplied from Afghanistan and then to other parts of Pakistan were used for terror, criminal activities due to absence of hold of Pakistan security forces. It was safe home for terrorists but after 9/11 Pakistan paid attention to FATA by conducting different army operations to eliminate terrorism across Pakistan. Due to operations almost more than five hundred thousand locals were displaced from their homes became IDPs. About 70 thousand locals died and many others suffered; on the other hand, many are still suffering.
People in FATA suffered a lot in this dirty, lethal, futile war on terror. Had there been no war or terror, we might have earn billions of dollars through tourism. Alas! everything, from social bonds to tourism industry, shatter like a piece of mirror as Pakistan plunged into war.