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LEGALITY OF ARMING PAKISTANI TRIBALS TO COMBAT MILITANTS

Rahman Ullah, Sohail Ahmad

Abstract
The Pakistan government extended an un-announced support to local
elders in the Pakhtun-tribal belt to raise Lashkars/militias in the Federally
Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the first lashkar was formed in
Salarzai area of Bajaur agency in 2008. Pakistan has mainly adopted two
approaches ‘the kinetic approach’ and ‘bottom-up approach’ to counter
militancy in the tribal areas. The kinetic approach involves belligerent and
offensive measures to annihilate or capture members of the militant
networks. While in the community-led ‘bottom-up’ approach government
works with local clans or community and this is how the Pakistani security
forces motivated the local tribal elders to raise a Lashkar/militias of
volunteers to combat militants in the FATA. The theoretical framework for
this paper is the community-led ‘bottom-up’ approach as the government
security forces engaged the local tribesmen to fight against militants in the
FATA. Apparently, the government exploited the concept of the traditional
Lashkars/militias and persuaded, encouraged or compelled local tribal
chieftain/maliks to raise Lashkars/anti-Taliban militias to guard
government installations and patrol along with the security forces during
search and strike operations. This paper critically evaluates the legality of
arming civilians to fight against insurgents in the Federally Administered
Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan. The research is qualitative in nature and
the researcher has extensively used the research tools of interviews,
focused group discussion (FGDs), personal interactions and observation, as
well as both published and unpublished documents and existing literature
on the issue.