‘Human rights continue to be violated despite merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’

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The people of the tribal areas were mourning the loss of human rights under the former Frontier Crime Regulation (FCR), but even in the absence of the colonial-era law, the tribal people are still struggling to access their basic rights.

Syed Siddique Akbar, a social worker from Bajaur and a leader of the youth Jirga said that the tribal people are deprived of several other basic rights, including education and health facilities. He said that there is a lack of development work, colleges, universities and good hospitals. “There is corruption and instability, targeted killings. No killer has been arrested and no motive has been identified for the killings,” Akbar told Mashaal Radio.

Today is World Human Rights Day, which aims to make the people aware of their basic rights. The fundamental human rights and various groups have demanded that they be given the full rights enshrined in the Pakistani constitution. Nahid Afridi, the leader of the Khwendo Kor, an organization on women’s rights, said they had hoped that their rights would be protected when FATA is merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but so far there is no change in the lives of tribal people.

Afridi said that neither the society nor the state has given women the opportunity and easy access to education. “Women do not have political rights and are still not being given the right to inheritance,” Naheed said. She added that after merging FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, they were optimistic that women would be given their due rights, but still there is no institution in tribal districts where the can claim their rights.

A political activist from Mohmand district Shah Sawar Mohmand said there are laws but no rights. He said that the tribal people call themselves free people but in reality, this so-called freedom does not allow them to progress. He lamented that the rights enjoyed by the people of the other parts of the country are still not available in tribal districts.

Guldad Khan, a member of the National Assembly from Bajaur, said the entire tribal belt from Bajaur to Waziristan was merged with Greater Pakhtunkhwa [Khyber Pakhtunkhwa] and the constitutional rights are being extended to the people of tribal districts. He added that he would always speak for human rights on the floor of the national assembly.

The people of the tribal districts said that they were optimistic after the merger of the tribal belt with the province that they would be given freedom of speech, health, education, employment and other rights, but so far they are not able to exercise their basic constitutional rights.

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