LEGALITY OF ARMING PAKISTANI TRIBALS TO COMBAT MILITANTS
Rahman Ullah, Sohail Ahmad
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of interviews, focused group discussion (FGDs), personal interactions and observation, as well as both published and unpublished documents and existing literature on the issue.