Pakistan’s Pashtun Reservation

Along the country’s northwest border, remnants of an oppressive colonial era.

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news stories often reference Pakistan’s “lawless” region along the Afghan border; less often reported is the fact that Islamabad treats its federally administered tribal areas (fata)—that Taliban/Al Qaeda safe haven—as a vast reservation. Wary of Pashtun nationalism, the government clings to a 108-year-old law defining fata as a separate legal entity, where Pakistani political parties can’t operate and national laws don’t apply unless the president says so explicitly. Its residents have no right to a lawyer in Pakistan’s courts, nor can they present material evidence or cross-examine witnesses; those convicted cannot appeal. Meanwhile, the president’s reps to the area can punish an entire tribe for crimes committed on its territory. “Some of the Pashtuns feel like they are a colony of Pakistan,” notes Boston University Afghanistan scholar Thomas Barfield. “They’re not full citizens, and the Frontier Crimes Regulation Act gives the Pakistani government the right to burn down villages, to ban trade…It’s fairly draconian. And it comes directly out of British colonial rule.”

US SPENT $5.8 BILLION IN FATA ON:

Spending on Fata

Separate and Unequal

  • fata population: 3.1 million
  • Income per capita: $250
  • Living in poverty: 60%
  • Literacy rate: 17%
    (Male: 29% Female: 3%)


Source: Government Accountability Office

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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