Giv­ing a Voice

Ti­tle: FATA: Voices of the Un­heard Au­thor: Amina Khan Pub­lisher: Lam­bert Aca­demic Pub­lish­ing (May 2011) Pages: 68, Pa­per­back Price: PKR. 3885 ISBN: 9783844397376

Southasia - - Contents - Jill Car­ney is a for­mer his­tory teacher and cur­rent M.A. can­di­date in the Depart­ment of Pol­i­tics at New York Univer­sity. Her re­search in­ter­ests in­clude U.S. na­tional se­cu­rity, coun­terin­sur­gency and civil-mil­i­tary re­la­tions.

Amina Khan’s “FATA: Voices of the Un­heard” looks at the trou­bled re­gion of the Fed­er­ally Ad­min­is­tered Tribal Area (FATA) and sheds light on the rea­sons why im­por­tant po­lit­i­cal and so­cial re­forms in FATA are highly chal­leng­ing and, thus far, have been elu­sive. Her vi­sion of a way for­ward for FATA is a call to the Pak­istani gov­ern­ment for long-over­due ac­tion in bring­ing

…the peo­ple of FATA have been de­nied ac­cess to democ­racy, eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties and hu­man rights that other Pak­ista­nis have.

ba­sic, struc­tural re­forms to FATA and in­te­grat­ing it with the rest of Pak­istan.

Khan traces these chal­lenges back to gov­ern­ing struc­tures, largely in place since colo­nial rule, and a deeply em­bed­ded cul­ture that dif­fers from other regions in Pak­istan. Khan notes that since “Pakhtun­wali,” the way of the Pakhtuns, dom­i­nates life in the FATA and has done so for cen­turies, ex­ter­nal en­ti­ties try­ing to ex­ert power over this re­gion have con­sis­tently been met with op­po­si­tion. Un­der the Bri­tish, the FATA was semi-au­ton­o­mous and re­mained so af­ter par­ti­tion. As a re­sult of this sta­tus, the peo­ple of FATA have been de­nied ac­cess to democ­racy, eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties and hu­man rights that other Pak­ista­nis have. Ad­di­tion­ally, the lack of ef­fec­tive gov­er­nance has made FATA a place where ex­iled groups may seek refuge. Com­pound­ing in­ter­nal prob­lems, FATA has been neg­a­tively af­fected by in­ter­na­tional events, such as the in­va­sion of Afghanistan by the Sovi­ets and, later, the Amer­i­cans and NATO forces.

Khan an­a­lyzes the ex­pe­ri­ence of FATA us­ing a the­o­ret­i­cal frame­work. She uses Path De­pen­dency The­ory and its two main com­po­nents, “his­tory mat­ters” and “in­creas­ing re­turns.” Path De­pen­dency The­ory holds that state in­sti­tu­tions struc­ture ac­tiv­i­ties around es­tab­lished paths and that de­vi­at­ing from these paths is costly, es­pe­cially as time passes and the path is more deeply in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized. Be­cause the cur­rent prob­lems in FATA have his­tor­i­cal roots, it will take sig­nif­i­cant, costly mea­sures in or­der to put FATA on a dif­fer­ent path. Khan as­serts that re­forms have been ab­sent in FATA since politi­cians lack the will to in­sti­tute them in con­sid­er­a­tion of other is­sues deemed more press­ing. Thus, easy, short-term fixes tend to be ap­plied that are later proved to be in­ad­e­quate.

In the con­clud­ing sec­tion,

Khan ap­plies her re­search to of­fer a way for­ward in FATA. The strong­est rec­om­men­da­tions deal with im­prov­ing gov­er­nance and cre­at­ing an at­mos­phere that can at­tract eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties. Her pol­icy pro­pos­als are strong be­cause they con­sider a wide-range of so­cial, eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal fac­tors in FATA. In re­fer­ring to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity’s role in as­sist­ing FATA’S de­vel­op­ment, Khan de­scribes ac­tions that they should re­frain from but fails to ex­plain what their new be­hav­iors should be be­yond pro­vid­ing in­ter­na­tional as­sis­tance to im­ple­ment re­forms. If covert op­er­a­tions and cross-bor­der op­er­a­tions con­ducted mil­i­tar­ily are vi­o­la­tions of the sovereignty of Pak­istan and should not be used, what ca­pa­bil­i­ties is Pak­istan able to em­ploy in deal­ing with mil­i­tants within its borders?

“Voices of the Un­heard” pro­vides readers with a suc­cinct and eas­ily read his­tory of the FATA that ad­dresses the myr­iad of com­plexi- ties sur­round­ing the re­gion. It is ben­e­fi­cial to any­one seek­ing to un­der­stand this re­gion and why the chal­lenges it presents are im­por- tant to ad­dress. In her rec­om­men­da­tions for a way for­ward, Amina Khan strongly makes the case for be­ing proac­tive, but ac­cu­rately rec­og­nizes that any mean­ing­ful pol­icy to­wards FATA will re­quire “an un­prece­dented dis­play of vi­sion and po­lit­i­cal sagac­ity” on the part of the gov­ern­ment. Trou­bles in FATA will per­sist un­til root causes are ad­dressed and this must be fully in­ter­nal­ized by Pak­istan’s gov­ern­ment and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity if it is se­ri­ous about cre­at­ing a com­pre­hen­sive, last­ing pol­icy to­ward the re­gion.

Re­viewed by Jill Car­ney

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.