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Tuesday Sep 12 2017

Women of FATA village stranded as FCR imprisons all men of area

PARACHINAR: A village in Kurram Agency has had all its men imprisoned under the collective responsibility clause of the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), forcing the women of the village to seek help from men of a neighbouring village for outdoor chores for three years.

 The men — nearly 20 — of Kinkot Kalay in Upper Kurram Agency were all put behind bars after a tribal leader was shot dead four years ago, a resident of the village told

He added the locals had to bear the brunt under the collective responsibility clause of the draconian FCR as the accused, Taj, had escaped the site.

The locking up of all the men of the village stranded the women in their houses, who could not step out for chores given the tribal customs which suggests it is disrespectful for women to go out to the bazaars alone. 

Subsequently, the women of Kinkot Kalay had to seek men in the neighbouring village to get outdoor chores done for them, for instance getting grocery from the market, the local said.

He added the practice went on for nearly three years until recently when the men of Kinkot Kalay were released after the arrest of Taj.

The practice of holding tribal people responsible under the FCR is so common that 80 per cent of the inmates in the jails of FATA are imprisoned based on the same law.

There are also those who have been behind bars under the FCR for multiple times in their life time. 

A resident of Parachinar, Dildar Hussain Janjal, has been to jail as many times as his age — 45 — charged by what is also known as the black law of FATA.

While talking about an instance, a local said once when Dildar Hussain was in jail, an incident took place in a market of Parachinar. He was charged with the crime despite being behind bars since a month, with the police going to Dildar Hussain's house to arrest him.

Nevertheless, reforms have been called in FATA to rid the tribal people of the injustice meted out to them under the draconian law.

During a Cabinet session chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan on Tuesday, a draft was presented for the new bill of FATA Reforms, promising abolishment of the FCR and extension of the judicial system to FATA to bring tribal people at par with the rest of the country. 

The development comes as a ray of hope for the people of FATA who were introduced to FCR during the British Raj. 

Among other clauses of the law, widely known as the collective responsibility clause which punishes the family or tribe members for crimes of an individual.


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