Project Overview

The Project endeavours to evaluate the legal status of the Former Federally Administered Tribal Areas. This includes not only ascertaining whether an armed conflict is in existence within the area and the potential hurdles in the transitional process from an armed conflict to a peacetime regime governed by International Human Rights Law. Moreover, the Project aims to analyse the current domestic legal regime applicable to the region vis-à-vis a view of its merger with KPK.

The aforementioned objectives were contoured further through an expert Round table session with legal experts well versed in both IHL and Pakistan’s domestic law to discuss the findings of RSIL in regards to the Legal Implications of the FATA Reforms on the Conflict Paradigm in October 2018.

Date:  April 2018 – September 2018

Team: Jamal Aziz, Zainab Mustafa, Ayesha Malik, Shayan Ahmed Khan, Abdul Ghani, Mohib Wazir

Project Partner: International Committee of the Red Cross


Executive Summary

On 31st May 2018, the historic 31st Constitutional Amendment was passed which merged the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This mainstreaming of the region effectively ends its previously assigned ‘special status’ in Pakistan’s Constitution and changes significantly the domestic law applicable to the area. The Research Society of International Law (RSIL) held an expert roundtable in 2015 to discuss whether a conflict paradigm existed in FATA triggering the application of International Humanitarian Law. They unanimously decided that it did and that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applied to the conflict.

Following the merger, it was decided that a reappraisal of the situation was required and another expert roundtable was held in October 2018. The primary aim of the roundtable was to establish whether a conflict paradigm still applied to FATA or if we were in the midst of or had already transitioned into a peace paradigm. It was decided that though it could not yet be determined with any degree of finality whether a conflict paradigm was no longer suitable in FATA, the improving security situation as well as the merging of FATA are strong indicators that the region is in the process of transitioning into a peace paradigm. This, in and of itself, is very encouraging and a source of considerable hope for those who have long wished for peace in the conflict torn region.

Roundtable Highlights


  • The Applicable Legal Framework in Conflict and Peace
  • Evaluation of the Security Situation in FATA Uptil 2018
  • FATA Reforms and Their Impact on the Conflict Paradigm