1 Voices from FATA | May-June 2013 | Issue No. 43
In view of CAMP’s continued efforts to support women’s rights through our interventions, we
present to you the May-June issue of ‘Voices from FATA: Women in 2013 Elections Special’ with
news, views and opinions on tribal women’s participation in the 2013 General Elections.
2013 has been a historic year for the tribal areas in terms of a record women voter turnout, the
first ever female political candidate, Badam Zari, and political mobilisation of women by various
parties. In this issue, we pay tribute to the courageous tribal women who cast their votes despite
security threats by militants in our cover story starting from Page 2, which will prove to be a
harbinger of change for times to come.
Another historic development in the tribal regions relates to the first ever FATA Citizen’s
Declaration on Reforms passed by the FATA Grand Assembly of Reforms Council on 22nd June
2013. This Declaration includes demands for reforming the draconian Frontier Crimes Regulation
(FCR); constitutional amendments to allow FATA Parliamentarians to legislate and determine its
status themselves; extension of press laws and PEMRA to FATA; and, abolition of the Actions in
Aid of Civil Power Regulation 2011, which provides for arbitrary arrest and detention. For more
details on the Declaration, refer to Page 6.
Other news include a Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) report on election violence during
campaigns, and a demand by the FATA Lawyers’ Forum for guaranteed constitutional rights and
protections for the citizens of FATA. To read these news stories, please go to Page 6.
With regard to security conditions, May and June 2013 proved to be peaceful in relation to the
first four months of 2013; no incidents of mortar shelling, suicide bombing, or inter-
tribal/factional clashes were recorded which provided the citizens of FATA much needed respite
from constant bloodshed and violence. In addition, the occurrence of drone strikes also
significantly decreased. For a more detailed analysis of security conditions in FATA, please refer
to Page 5.
CAMP feels proud that the women of FATA – in particular Mohmand Agency which had the
highest female voter turnout – have raised their voice and become part of the electoral process.
We hope that these trends continue in the coming years, both in relation to peace and security
as well as political awareness amongst women in FATA since the high turnout during elections
proves that the tribal people are indeed geared for political progress and development.
Barrister Irum Ali Khan
Editor and Advocacy Coordinator
CAMP Office, Islamabad
May – June 2013 | Issue No. 43
WOMEN IN FATA
ELECTIONS 2013 ... 2
FATA SECURITY ... 5
FATA POLICY UPDATE ...6
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2 Voices from FATA | May-June 2013 | Issue No. 43
WWOOMMEENN IINN FFAATTAA EELLEECCTTIIOONNSS 22001133
The general elections of May 2013 have not only
proved a harbinger of change for the entire
country, but it certainly did for one particular
marginalised group; that is, women from the
tribal region. The female turnout in 2013
represented about 34.3% of the total registered
vote bank in FATA which illustrates a significant
increase from all previous elections.
Owing to the conservative norms and culture of
Pakhtun society, it is very rare for tribal women to venture out
into different professions, owing to the ‘militant interpretation
of religion’ which does not permit them to work outside the
home or community.
Pushing Boundaries: First Female
Political Candidate of FATA
However, this time, the women of FATA have not only stepped
out of their homes to cast their votes, but Badam Zari of Bajaur
made history by contesting elections within the agency against
25 male candidates; although she received fewer than 200
votes, her courage is a symbol of hope for many women like
her who wish to make their voices heard.
Female Voter Turnout in FATA
Out of a total 36% voter turnout in FATA – an increase of 5%
from 2008 – a general increase in female voters who stepped
out of their homes on 11 May 2013 to vote was observed. The
female vote bank of FATA comprised of 5,96,079 (about 4%)
out of the 14,21,271 registered voters in all according to the
Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) which is the highest
ever so far.
The following is an agency wise representation of female
voters throughout FATA based on statistics gathered by the
ECP as well as other organisations:
1 “Women and the 2013 General Elections”, Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN)
%2022%20April%202013.pdf accessed on 15th July 2013 at 10:50 am PST
2 “NA-44: Breaking Bajaur’s boundaries, Badam Zari vows to strive for women emancipation”
published in The Express Tribune, 10th April 2013
3 Final Electoral Roll 2012-13 (Province and Gender wise Graphical Chart)
Graphs/04_gender_province_wise_voters.jpg accessed on 15th July 2013 at
11:15 am PST
Despite many efforts and research, statistics on agency wise female voter
turnout in FATA were not available till the date of this publication.
“Had I received education, my life would
have been very different. I regret my past;
so providing education to the children of
Bajaur is on top of my priorities.”
In an interview prior to elections, Badam Zari, the first
woman to contest elections from FATA talked about
the serious need for education in her area. Having
lived through the problems faced by women and
people in general all across FATA, she is sensitive to
issues such as lack of adequate health services and
basic amenities such as running water which are not
On answering a question on how she decided to ‘push
through deep rooted social norms and contest
elections’, Zari notes she was inspired by other
women across the country who were working for such
issues and thus ‘I realised I wanted to give practical
shape to my longstanding desire to serve my country
and neglected people of my area'.
Despite many cultural barriers and challenges, Badam
Zari was optimistic and declared that even if she did
not succeed in the elections, she would continue her
efforts for positive change in Bajaur.
“I will not be disappointed if I do not win. I
will carry on my struggle for the
betterment of my society”.
Extracts from interview with The Express Tribune,
3 Voices from FATA | May-June 2013 | Issue No. 43
Number of female voters registered = 1,20,230
Number of female votes cast = 2,890
Despite having the highest number of female voters
registered in FATA, Bajaur Agency recorded the lowest
female voter turnout; ECP data shows that only 2,875
women voted in NA-44 (mostly in Barang and Salarzai
tehsils) and 15 in NA-43.
An unnamed official claimed that the ECP had received
reliable information that tribal elders, religious and political
leaders as well as some candidates were involved in
preventing women from voting. This happened despite
assurances from candidates that females would not be
barred from exercising their right to vote.
Nevertheless, Badam Zari played an important role in
encouraging women to come out of their homes to cast
their vote, but overall the female turnout in Bajaur agency
Number of female voters registered = 1,16,358
In contrast with Bajaur, the female voter turnout in Khyber
agency was high; this can be attributed to the fact that
many political parties, especially Pakistan Tehreek-e-
Insaaf (PTI) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) managed to
successfully mobilise women through Dars sessions held
in Jamrud and Landikotal which encouraged them to vote.
According to some estimates, Khyber had the highest
turnout of women in FATA.
Apart from some violent incidents, voting remained
peaceful throughout the agency which persuaded more
and more women to step out as Election Day progressed.
However, the local political administration, owing to past
experience, was unprepared for the large turnout of
women and therefore very few segregated polling booths
had been set up which caused some problems.
Nevertheless, Khyber did have a relatively high female
voter turnout compared to other agencies and FRs
illustrating a significant increase in political awareness
amongst women in general.
Number of female voters registered = 55,431
According to various news reports, the highest female
voter turnout was witnessed in Mohmand agency,
particularly in Ekka Ghund, Khowazai and Bazai areas.
About 64 of the total 107 polling stations throughout the
agency were set up specifically for women who
A Presiding Officer at Ekka Ghund polling station, Ramdad
Khan, confimed to The Express Tribune the high number
of female voters. In addition, other officials such as
Returning Officer Mohmand Dr Ambar Ali “expressed
satisfaction over the fact that the first elections in FATA
were conducted with transparency where women were a
Most female voters were seen casting their votes in NA 36
of Mohmand Agency for the first time in the conservative
tribal area; women themselves stated that they had not
been stopped by their fathers and husbands, who instead
had encouraged them to vote which was a big factor in
enabling their participation in elections.
Number of female voters registered = 99,270
In light of recent incidents and threats, elections in Kurram
were held amidst tight security. In particular, in Sadda (NA
38), the headquarters of Lower Kurram, ECP postponed
elections due to the ongoing military operation.
On the other hand, in Upper Kurram (NA 37), women
actively participated in elections and were seen voting in
throngs across polling stations there; news reports claimed
that the female voter turnout was far greater than 2008.
Even after elections, women were involved in protests
against rigging and violence in certain areas of Kurram.
The overall trend of increase in female voters was
witnessed in Kurram as well, which is a welcome change in
attitudes towards participation of women in political
spheres across FATA.
Number of female voters registered = 46,781
Residents of NA 39 in Orakzai told The Nation that female
voters were forced to stay inside homes, while men cast
votes on their behalf and thus lost their right to vote
4 Voices from FATA | May-June 2013 | Issue No. 43
“contrary to rules and regulations of the Election
Commission of Pakistan”.
But apart from this, voting went more or less smoothly and
people used their right to vote despite fears over security;
the presence of law enforcement authorities and
encouraged people to come out and vote.
North Waziristan Agency
Number of female voters registered = 10,863
Sadly in North Waziristan, women were universally
deprived of their right to vote as it was deemed un-Islamic
by religious extremists (NA 40).
A few days ago, pamphlets were also distributed at
different areas of the agency warning tribesmen to refrain
their women from voting and threatening dire
South Waziristan Agency
Number of female voters registered = 65,583
A completely different situation surfaced in NA 41 of South
Waziristan; while women were not allowed to vote, male
relatives went to polling stations to cast votes on their
Meanwhile, in the NA 42 constituency separate polling
stations were set up for men and women, where a large
number of the latter were seen arriving to cast their votes.
However, media sources reported that soon after polling
began, unidentified men began creating a disturbance by
opening ballot boxes and tearing up voting sheets.
The Express Tribune reported that South Waziristan’s
Assistant Political Officer, Hamiduallah Khattak confirmed
the incident and stated that the appropriate action would
Frontier Regions (FRs)
Registered female voters in FRs
F.R. Bannu = 1,691
F.R. D.I Khan = 7,857
F.R. Kohat = 12,079
F.R. Lakki Marwat = 3,930
F.R. Peshawar = 9,297
F.R. Tank = 5,860
Media sources observed that a large number of women did
not cast their vote in NA 47 – the constituency which
comprises of six Frontier Regions of FATA – due to
Reports of rigging and vote theft were received from FR
Bannu where allegedly 2,000 women’s ballots were stolen.
Similarly, in FR Peshawar, a Shaheed Bhutto Foundation
(SBF) FATA Reforms Council Coordinator reported that
until 2 pm, only one woman had cast her vote at a
combined polling station.
FATA’s Women Vote for Change!
Despite security threats, a larger than expected turnout of
women (and men) voters in FATA illustrates that political
dynamics have changed in the tribal region. Experts and
commentators attribute this to the extension of the Political
Parties Act 2002 to FATA since it enabled politio-religious
parties such as JUI (F), Jamaat-e-Islami and JUI (S) to effectively
mobilise women voters in an attempt to outsmart their political
rivals. The participation of newer parties such as PTI also helped
improve the political climate for women in FATA.
Women in Mohmand Agency, casting their votes for the first
time ever, set a historical example for others around FATA; this
is indeed a very strong message for the entire country that
Pakistanis, especially women living in conservative tribal society,
are creating a demand for change.
In an extremely hostile tribal environment where women have
been hitherto excluded from the electoral process, a relatively
high turnout of female voters in 2013 and the courage of Badam
Zari will no doubt pave the way for opening up more
opportunities for them in future.
It shows that “they have not lost hope and
are ready to go against all militants and
terrorists to achieve their destiny for a
“Media sources reported that in
Miranshah tribesmen were informed
through mosque loudspeakers early
Saturday (Election Day: May 11, 2013)
that no woman would be allowed to
leave her home and cast vote.”
5 Voices from FATA | May-June 2013 | Issue No. 43
Jan – Jun 2013
The number of drone
strikes has significantly
decreased since the
start of 2013, with a
continuing till June.
A total of 12 drone
strikes were reported
from January to April,
while only two attacks
were reported in May
FFAATTAA SSEECCUURRIITTYY MMOONNIITTOORR
After a violent start to the year, the months of May and June
2013 proved to be relatively peaceful. There were no recorded
incidents of mortar shelling, suicide bombing, or inter-
tribal/factional clashes which provided the citizens of FATA
much needed respite from constant bloodshed and violence.
However, militant attacks and security forces operations
continued – nevertheless, a positive development of note is
that there was minimal loss of life to civilians and
infrastructure in both months. In May alone, casualties
resulting from military operations and clashes with militants –
comprising mostly of security forces personnel and militant
groups – amounted to 145 of the total number, 201.
The number of IED explosions also went down from 16 in the
first four months of 2013 to five in May and June; the same
trend can be seen in bomb attacks where 17 incidents were
reported from January to April whereas in the two following
months, it reduced to 10.
1 2 2 1 1
0 0 0 0
January February March April May June
TYPE OF INCIDENT MAY JUNE
No Killed Injured No Killed Injured
Bomb attacks 8 48 110 2 4 9
Landmine explosions 2 1 1 - - -
IEDs 2 1 4 3 3 2
Drone attacks 1 6 - 1 7 -
Military/SF operations 7 90 70 2 58 17
By unidentified/militant groups 8 55 18 4 8 5
TOTAL 28 201 203 12 80 33
Figure 1: Downward trend of drone strikes in 2013
6 Voices from FATA | May-June 2013 | Issue No. 43
FFAATTAA PPOOLLIICCYY UUPPDDAATTEE
Constitution's fundamental rights must be guaranteed in
The FATA Lawyers Forum had arranged the convention titled “Rule of
law in FATA”. Supreme Court Bar Association President Mian Israrul
Haq, Peshawar High Court Bar Association President Ishtiaq Ibrahim;
PHC Bar Association former president Abdul Latif Afridi and a good
number of senior lawyers attended the convention.
The convention unanimously passed three resolutions, calling for
extending the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and
Peshawar High Court to FATA, separating judiciary and executive in the
tribal areas and enforcing the fundamental rights provided by the
Constitution of 1973.
In his address, Latif Afridi said the people of FATA could now raise their
voice for their rights. He asked the President Supreme Court Bar
Association to hold a convention for the lawyers from the tribal areas
on the rule of law in FATA.
Election campaign 2013: around 149 incidents of violence
Around 149 incidents of election related violence took place during the
election campaign from March 17 to May 09, 2013, in which
approximately 189 people lost their lives and 667 were injured, Free
and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) claims in its report on general
election. The report terms the 2013 general election campaign was the
most competitive and violent in the country's history.
The Awami National Party (ANP) was targeted most frequently during
the campaign in 29 incidents. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)
was targeted in 23 incidents, the Pakistan Muslim League (N) in 16 and
the Pakistan People’s Party in 12 incidents. The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
(JUI-F) and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) were targeted in six and four
incidents, respectively. Ten incidents involved independent candidates
where their workers and supporters were targeted.
The hardest hit province was Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, followed by Sindh
and Balochistan. FATA saw relatively fewer incidents of election-related
violence but the severe militant insurgency in the region continued
unabated throughout the campaign. Punjab experienced the least
election violence during this time; however, during the last week of the
campaign, a string of incidents took place in the province.
The predominant targets of violence were political parties and
candidates participating in polls. KP and Sindh saw the highest number
of attacks on political parties, with Balochistan not far behind.
Balochistan and KP were the provinces where candidates, in particular,
were targeted most. Polling stations were targeted exclusively in
Bombing was a predominant tactic of election related violence, closely
followed by gunfire. The high number of bomb blasts in election-related
violence is consistent with the implication that most of the violence was
perpetrated by militants. A few incidents also involved missiles and all
these incidents happened in Balochistan. Clashes between political
parties mostly involved exchange of gunfire. In two incidents - one in
FATA and the other in Punjab, candidates were kidnapped by
Grand assembly okays FATA declaration on reforms
PESHAWAR - The FATA Declaration was unanimously approved by more
than 300 members of FATA Reforms Councils from all tribal agencies
and Frontier Regions at the FATA Grand Assembly in Peshawar.
The FATA Declaration represents the culmination of a lengthy dialogue
and consensus-building process spanning five years of consecutive local
reform council meetings and advocacy workshops regarding challenges
in the implementation of already enacted political reforms in FATA and
on recommendations for further reforms.
The Shaheed Bhutto Foundation (SBF) first launched its campaign in
2008 to amplify the voices of FATA citizens and bring about political
reforms in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
As the reforms agenda seems to have lost urgency amidst other
priorities, FATA elders, representatives of political parties, ulemas,
lawyers, journalists, students and women from the tribal areas gathered
so that their collective voices may be heard at the highest political
The consensus FATA Declaration highlights urgent reforms priorities,
including effective implementation of the 2011 reforms enacted by the
President of Pakistan. The declaration contains 19 recommendations,
encompassing essential changes needed to ensure mainstreaming of
FATA and political participation of tribal citizens. The Assembly also
asserted that tribesmen and tribeswomen must be guaranteed the
same fundamental rights enjoyed by other citizens of Pakistan.
The FATA Grand Assembly was attended by the Honourable Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa Governor Engineer Shaukatullah Khan, who offered his
endorsement of the people-driven reforms process in FATA. Senator
Farhatullah Babar was also a guest of honour on this dignified occasion.
The approved FATA Declaration was Monday presented to Governor
Shaukatullah Khan for his consideration. In addition, the President of
Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari has agreed to receive the members of the FATA
Grand Assembly in July to formally hear their recommendations as
stated in the FATA Declaration.