Clearing myths of FATA – Federally Administered Tribal Areas

on Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas seldom slide into the tab for hot topics, yet when it finally does, the hype of the topic is actually for all the fictional ideas some people have successfully and perhaps, permanently, carved in an outsider’s outlook. Ask yourself; don’t you consider the mere tribesmen living in those areas as wild ogres, while the poor women as those destined for slavery and persecution the rest of their lives, eyed with not even respect but involuntary pity?

For all those mere listeners who easily believe a number of people putting forward their invented perspective, I feel glad to burst that impenetrable bubble they were living in with few eye-witnessed facts that can blow away all misconceptions regarding poor tribesmen and their families in a spark of enlightenment.

People lucky enough to live in the middle of the city tend to believe girls in “FATA” are better off illiterate and confined to merely two houses, going from the one where they were born to the one they unfortunately got married to, simply to serve the man and his family, or keep the corners clean. This concept is purely wrong, because as much as it may feel like a smack straight in the forehead, 80% girls living in FATA are studying in colleges and secondary schools, whereas the other rough figure includes females enrolled in government and private schools. True enough, the law and order situation of the country proves the greatest hindrance in pursuing education for females, as it does for modern schools, still the survey shows encouraging results. Therefore, girls in FATA are neither born to be the slaves they can’t hire, nor for entertainment.

Secondly, as for the myth of FATA being the headquarters for terrorists and militancy, folks believing such an accuse might pause and think about how many tribesmen and dwellings have been busted since the day of 9/11. We should not assume and come to conclusions regarding the inexplicable, and unfathomable problem of terrorism as settling in tribal areas only because there are several spots where any criminal can easily hide. There have been numerous blasts in FATA that have eternally disabled the dwellers to get bound by their current region, blocking the ways of escape, as well. Similar to city blasts, thousands of school, houses and men are blown away, yet only two of them are broadcasted. It is fair enough to dismiss few vicious killers who find their survival in murdering and robbing, yet every district across the globe contain such a specie?

Moreover, for those who regard the tribesmen as some other creatures, entirely different from a human being; what really do they take them as? Cannibals? As far as I’m concerned, tribesmen require proper sanitation, basic necessities and technology to keep themselves updated. They ask for peace, justice, industrial activity and development. They demand education, hospitals and evening parks to release stress. They foster love, brotherhood and unity to have someone in time of need. Yes, the tribesmen indeed are different from “typical human beings.”

As a fourth ping of realization, FATA people are in fact the most obedient and law-abiding group that any countryman can challenge. The pre 9/11 days are the patent proof of their law-following personality, with the lowest crime rate emerging from FATA. Murder, rape and theft were almost rare and the tribesman devotedly observed all unspoken laws and rules put forward even in the absence of a judiciary or proper authority, while the country people failed to comply with the simplest rule pre- or post- 9/11 incident. The tribesmen certainly can be tamed with love and affection, but they likewise lash out if forced or imposed with rules. That’s a trait found rare in any creed, yet they take pride in it.

As a last smack for oblivious folks believing the betraying label pinned on all tribal men and women, it can be proved that FATA people never entered their vote solely for the sake of religion. As accused of ‘religious tribesmen putting vote for religious parties in elections’, the 2008 elections distinctly said religious parties claiming only one or two seats in a total of 11 in FATA. Similarly, this time the majority claiming to PTI has also highlighted the point.

Hence, merely having a beard and wearing traditional clothing does not mean the individual is a cannibal, or belonging to FATA, though both are considered same nowadays. We hope Imran Khan’s rule may change this weird outlook, and let the country people come and see the sights totally different from their conjured up ones.

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