Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA)
The Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) are Pakistani administrative subdivisions designated in the Article 246(b) of the Constitution of Pakistan. No Act of Provincial Assembly can be applied to PATA whereas the Governor of the respective province has mandate parallel to the authority President of Pakistan has over Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
Provincially Administered Tribal Areas as defined in the Constitution include four former princely states as well as tribal areas and tribal territories in districts:
North-West Frontier Province(NWFP)
- Chitral District (former Chitral state)
- Dir District (Upper Dir and Lower Dir, former Dir state)
- Swat District (former Swat state including Kalam)
- Tribal Area in Kohistan District
- Malakand District
- Tribal Area adjoining Mansehra District (Battagram, Allai and Black Mountain of Hazara, Upper Tanawalormer) and former Amb state.
- Zhob District
- Loralai District (excluding the Duki Tehsil)
- Dalbandin Tehsil of Chagai District
- Kohlu District (former Marri Tribal Territory in Sibi District)
- Dera Bugti District (former Bugti Tribal Territory in Sibi District)
PATA falls under the NWFP chief minister’s remit and is represented in NWFP’s provincial legis-lature. Article 247 of the constitution states: “Subject to the Constitution, the executive authority of the Federation shall extend to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and the executive authority of the prov-ince shall extend to the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas”. The NWFP governor can change or extend laws to PATA only with the president’s approval. The original PATA Regulation of 1975 vested judi-cial authority in districts’ deputy commissioners, and empowered jirgas [assemblies] to decide civil and other disputes under the supervision of the revenue officer, thus giving the district bureaucracy and allied local traditional elites significant authority. Pakistan’s Criminal Procedure Code was not applicable to PATA.
Provincially-administered tribal areas of the province including Districts of Swat, Lower Dir, Upper Dir, Chitral, Shangla, Bunir and Dsitrict Kohistan of Hazara Division. Kala Dhaka of Mansehra is also part of PATA. Since 1975, it has been administered as a Provin-cially Administered Tribal Area (PATA), with a separate criminal and civil code from the rest of Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP).
Unlike FATA, the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) are subject to the jurisdiction of Pakistan’s regular court system. Like the rest of the country, they have district and sessions courts from which appeals are heard in the provincial High Court and the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
The PATA Regulation was a weird combination of authoritarianism, ignorance of the changing social structure of Swat, and conventions framed to appease the local elite. Judicial authority in PATA was transferred from the regular courts to the deputy commissioners of the districts in Malakand division. A jirga, consisting of local notables (favourites of the administration), would decide cases of conflict among the people of the area under the supervision of a tehsildar (the revenue officer).The jirga members would be selected from the existing landed gentry. Any appeal against the jirga’s decision would be made to the deputy commissioner and the NWFP home secretary. Revenue, judicial and executive powers were thus merged in a single individual — the deputy commissioner of the district — irrespective of the socio-political and economic dynamics that were fast changing the very fabric of society in the valley.
While the educated middle classes and socio-political activists were busy with their awareness programme in the Swat valley, lawyers in the late 1980s submitted a petition in the Peshawar High Court pleading for the abolition of the PATA Regulation. The Peshawar High Court gave its verdict in Feb 1990 in favour of the petition. The federal government then appealed in the Supreme Court which ruled four years later that the PATA Regulation was unconstitutional. The verdict of the apex court made the bureaucracy powerless and so the local elites who enjoyed the privileges as a jirga members.
A 1995 Supreme Court decision declared the PATA Regulation unconstitutional, thus restoring judicial authority to regular courts and allowing appeals to the provincial High Court and the Supreme Court.
By the time the Supreme Court declared the PATA regulation to be ultra vires, the TNSM had become so powerful that it brought the entire Malakand administration to a standstill in 1994, demanding the imposition of Sharia in the Swat valley and other districts in the division.
Instead of extending the regular laws that had been eclipsed due to the introduction of the PATA Regulation, the provincial government recommended the introduction of the Sharia Nizam-i-Adl Ordinance in 1994, acquiescing to the demagogic antics of the TNSM and compounding the confusion created by the provincial bureaucracy. The said ordinance made it compulsory for the civil courts to ask for the assistance of a Muawin Qazi and Aalim Wakil. The advice of the cleric, however, was not binding on the civil courts.
The TNSM objected to this arrangement and the federal government promulgated the Sharia Nizam-i-Adl Regulation 1999, thereby increasing the clerics’ influence in the courts. As if this were not enough, the caretaker provincial government recently proposed the ill-advised Sharia Nizam-i-Adl Regulation 2008 that would make the courts subservient to the clerics while the revenue and executive authority would be exercised by the local administration. The Nizam-e-Adl Regulation President Zardari signed in 2009 vests all judicial authority in qazis (Sharia court judges).
Provincially-Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) of the province includes
- Districts of Swat,
- Lower Dir,
- Upper Dir,
- Dsitrict Kohistan of Hazara Division.
- Kala Dhaka of Mansehra of Hazara Division