Protest in Kabul against FATA merger
Kabul- The Afghan Protection Movement staged a demonstration today in front of the United Nations office in Kabul against the merger of FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, without consent of FATA people and the Afghan government. The protesters rejected the decision in strongest terms and slammed the Awami National Party for its role in implementing the designs of the GHQ and imperialistic agenda of Punjab on Afghan soil. The activists chanted slogans against Pakistan and urged the international community to revisit the said decision of FATA integration, unilaterally made by Pakistan and revisit the unauthorized Durand Line to correct the historic mistakes with Afghanistan and establish lasting peace and stability in the region. The Afghan Protection Movement also filed a petition to the United Nations and handed over to its office in Kabul. the activists reminded the international community that the Durand Line was never a permanent or temporary border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. They announced once again their denial to the imaginary line, dividing members and families of the same tribes, nations and families.
According to the Petition to United Nations, Afghans Rejected the FATA merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The petition said the right to vote is a well-established norm of international law. Significant international treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and regional agreements such as the American Convention on Human Rights, enshrine citizens’ claim to universal and equal suffrage. Regional human rights systems in Europe and the Americas have mechanisms to enforce the right to vote that have been applied in a limited fashion, which concludes all kind(s) of determination including any geographic and political changes and/or reforms.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee, the monitoring treaty body of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, is one of the most important and highly regarded international human rights institutions. This article seeks to explore if geographical, political and cultural considerations influence the votes of committee members in decisions on individual communications.
International Declarations and Covenants
The affirmative obligation of states to protect their citizens’ right to vote is recognized in international treaties and declarations adopted by the United Nations and by regional treaty organizations such as the Council of Europe and the Organization of American States.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is the preeminent global aspirational document on human rights. The declaration was adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 and its Article 21 lays out the right of people to participate in government and enjoy universal suffrage:
The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
The article provides the right to individual to make any decision(s) particularly when its typically about something to bring to the a specific group of people, and of course merging FATA with KPK totally belongs to the people of FATA.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) takes its binding effect from its ratification by a large number of signatories (150 to date). The Human Rights Committee (HRC), a permanent treaty organ, was created by the ICCPR.
Article 25 states:
Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions mentioned in article 2 and without unreasonable restrictions: (a) To take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives; (b) To vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors.
The European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
In terms of the right to vote, the Court enforces Article 3 of Protocol 1 (P3-1) of the European Convention, which states:
The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature.
Durand line and FATA’s legal status:
In a peace treaty of August 08, 1919 between the government of Afghanistan and British India, the demarcation of the Durand line was yet not confirmed. In addition to that, the second treaty in 1921 explicitly states that any activity(ies) in and/or on FATA area from either sides (Afghanistan or British India) shall be applied in coordination with the other side.
However, Article 7 Paragraph I section C of the Indian Independence Act, 1947 states as:
There lapse also any treaties or agreements in force at the date of the passing of this Act between His Majesty and any persons having authority in the tribal areas, any obligations of His Majesty existing at that date to any such persons or with respect to the tribal areas, and all powers, rights, authority or jurisdiction exercisable at that date by His Majesty in or in relation to the tribal areas by treaty, grant, usage, sufferance or otherwise.
Provided that, notwithstanding anything in paragraph (c) of this subsection, effect shall, as nearly as may be, continue to be given to the provision of any such agreement as is therein referred to which relate to customs, transit and communication, posts and telegraphs, or other like matters, until the provisions in question are denounced by the Ruler of the Indian State or person having authority in the tribal areas on the one hand.
Consequently, although, the 1919 and 1921’s treaties between Afghanistan and British India explicitly made the Durand line and FATA’s matters an all-time bilateral treatment. Yet, the Indian Independence Act, 1947 had repealed all old and/or previous treaties.
Furthermore, in 1948 in Mohammed Ali Jinah the first governor general of Pakistan in a meeting with the FATA tribal elders wrote a note “Pakistan has no desire to unduly interfere with the your internal freedom, on the contrary; Pakistan wants to help you and make you, as far as it lies in our power, self-sufficient and help in your education, social and economic uplift, but you own and rule your free land”
Since any decisions on North and South Pashtunkhwa, and FATA shall be made by the Pashtuns on both sides of the Durand line limits the jurisdiction of the Pakistani parliament. But, unfortunately Pakistani central government did not even take the FATA residents to confidence. Saying that, from the legal perspective, particularly in Federal system of government, any decision in order to bring geographic changes shall be proposed by the residents of that particular area before it goes for votes; no law is passed with the direct and one sided proposal of the central government. While, on December 13, 2017, 500 FATA tribal elders in a declaration opposed the merging of FATA with KPK. While, on December 13, 2017, 500 FATA tribal elders in a declaration opposed the merging of FATA with KPK.
Thusly, we strongly ask the United Nations to take the mentioned issue into a serious account and apply the international law and UN charter to protect the human rights in particular the rights to vote and determinations.