Reflections

In Pakistan, a Region Struggles to Resist Its History

Jan 11, 2017 | 01:44 GMT
In Pakistan, a Region Struggles to Resist Its History
The government in Pakistan has approved a plan to bring stability to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, a historically restive region along the country's border with Afghanistan. But the path toward progress will be long and no doubt tortuous.
(TARIQ MAHMOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

Progress is a struggle against history, and in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of western Pakistan, history seems to be winning. The rugged, mountainous region is the country's most impoverished. It has earned a reputation as a hotbed of violence and bastion of resistance, an ungovernable gray zone that exists beyond the reach of Pakistan's Constitution, perpetuating an ancient system of tribalism. But things may be looking up for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. On Friday, each of Pakistan's political parties approved an initiative to merge the region with neighboring Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. The proposed merger is part of a larger project to boost development and tackle poverty in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in hopes of achieving the stability that has long eluded the region. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif created a committee in November 2015 to gauge the prospects of the merger, and conditions now seem ripe to push the...

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