Islamabad: Pakistan has amended a 150-year-old political regulation that allowed authorities to raze houses of criminals and their relatives in Pushtun-inhabited tribal areas.
The amendment gives people of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, known as FATA, the right to challenge the decisions of the political agent -- the eyes and ears of Islamabad.
The Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) comprises a set of laws enforced by the British in the Pashtun areas along Afghanistan. They were framed to counter the fierce opposition of the Pashtuns to British rule.
In Pakistan, each tribal agency is administered by a political agent who carries out administrative functions.
He is also responsible for handling inter-tribal disputes over boundaries or the use of natural resources.
The agent plays a supervisory role for development projects.
Dawn said that innocent men, women and children had become victims of the draconian regulation. Even family members of those accused under the regulation got jailed.
Under the FCR, the government had the powers to raze the houses of criminals and their relatives.
President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday signed orders setting into motion a set of reforms in the tribal areas, said the Associated Press of Pakistan.