THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL OF THE UNITED STATES
AID EFFECTIVENESS AND NORMALIZATION IN FATA
SOUTH ASIA ADVISOR,
UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACE
WELCOME AND MODERATOR:
DIRECTOR, SOUTH ASIA CENTER,
ADDITIONAL CHIEF SECRETARY,
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2010
Federal News Service
SHUJA NAWAZ: I’m Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia center, and I’m delighted to have all of you here – a lot of familiar faces. Thank you for coming. I’m delighted that we have Mr. Habibullah Khan, who has been running the FATA secretariat for many years, and hopefully, will continue to run it for some years to come. And with me, also, is Moeed Yusuf, who is a partner in this venture today.
The USIP and the South Asia center are jointly cosponsoring this event, so I’m delighted to welcome Moeed to the Washington area. And I think no doubt, apart from our partnership, that he will be contributing a lot to the better understanding of what’s happening in our part of the world. I’m going to request Moeed, if he could, please do the introduction, and then we’ll proceed.
MOEED YUSUF: Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. Nawaz. I am Moeed Yusuf. I manage the Pakistan program at USIP. And I’ve moved down from Boston earlier in the year to do that. It’s truly a pleasure, actually, to have Mr. Habibullah Khan here. I want to thank DAIA (ph) and Denise (ph), who set this up for us.
And when I was told that Mr. Khan was going to be in town, I thought, that’s an opportunity that we must not miss, because there are few people who’ve not only studied, but have worked on FATA and in FATA more than he has, and given that, you know, the U.S. interests in FATA, in Pakistan in general, are perhaps greater than ever.
And this question that we are going to address today of aid effectiveness lies at the heart of, perhaps, the bewilderment, if I may say, in Washington about why Pakistanis react towards the U.S. the way they do. And a large part of the puzzle, at least we feel, in Washington is to do with the ineffectiveness of the U.S. aid that is going into Pakistan. And so I don’t want to take too much time. We should hand it over to Mr. Khan.
I think the main point to remember and to take away from this is that he’s going to bring us a perspective from the ground, which is not very easy to get in Washington, despite having a number of visitors come through this town and talk to us. But this is a perspective, having seen what he has done, which I think not many will be able to bring to the table. So I’d encourage you to please ask, you know, questions about what is happening on the ground to get a different perspective on the issue. So I think we should invite Habibullah, sir, please, if you want.
MR. NAWAZ: If you’d like to sit and speak, it’s up to you. Otherwise, we have the podium – whichever is more comfortable. I think the cameraman wants you to stand. (Laughter.) So we have to respect the media.
MR. NAWAZ: So Mr. Khan is going to speak for about 15 to 20 minutes, and then we’ll go to questions.
HABIBULLAH KHAN: Mr. Shuja Nawaz, Mr. Moeed Yusuf, ladies and gentlemen, it is my privilege to be here and to be talking to you about FATA today. The topic that was given to me is aid effectiveness and its role in normalizing FATA. I will try to be very brief and very short so that we have ample time for any question – any question – that you have in mind about FATA.
Maybe in the beginning, I should say that for a goalkeeper, either in football or in hockey, people don’t remember the goals that he has saved, but they do remember the goals that he has missed. So generally, when we are speaking of FATA, whether in Pakistan or outside Pakistan, we normally highlight the issues where we have not shown any progress, or where the problems still persist.
But we simply ignore the efforts that have been put into by government of Pakistan, by the local leadership and by the international community, that has made tremendous progress – and if I say, that has helped in changing the scenario. So today, I am here to not only give you this message, that it is not as gloomy as people think. And secondly, this is an issue that is manageable and this is a problem that can be solved. And we have made serious attempts to solve it.
And the very simple measurement, the very simple indicator is, compare the situation two years before and now. And if we are talking that FATA is an underdeveloped area, I totally agree. I totally agree. But I will simply request you to please look at the scenario of 1947, when FATA became part of Pakistan: not a single primary school; not a single health facility; not a single village having electricity from the national grid; only a few strategic roads there for the military purpose, and of course, the postal services that was a requirement of the military and of the paramilitary forces.
When people say that in FATA, women’s rights are not being given due attention, I totally agree that we need to give more focus on this issue. But again, I will say please also have this thing in mind, that in 1947 – and there was no school for boys; there was no question to – (inaudible) – a primary school for girls. In the same FATA now, we have degree colleges for women.
When you could not find a single male person to read and write in FATA, now we have doctors – lady doctors, gynecologists, surgeons, professors, and of course, a very senior civil servant, who has been recently retired. So changes are there, and changes have come. But more is needed, and I think I agree with that.
Another question that is normally being asked: Where the aid is going? And it is so easy to say that aid is being misappropriated, aid is not going to the common man or aid is not being provided where it is required. So these are the three different accusations that normally, we receive when we listen, when we speak to the people outside
Today, inshallah, I would like to clarify all these issues. My sequence of presentation will be aid effectiveness – what is the international context. And then I will take more time to understand what is the FATA’s sociocultural environment. And any initiative by any international partner, or by the government of Pakistan, if we keep those environments into consideration, we will be sure that the effectiveness and the efficiency of aid is multiplied. And lastly, I will speak about the donors’ intervention and the way forward.
I have many details; if there are any specific questions about any specific program, I would like to answer that. But I have just kept that information in reserve. What is aid? In simple words, to improve the quality of the delivery, management and use of official development assistance. This is what the Paris Declaration says. And what is the Paris Declaration? It is step towards formalizing and focusing international efforts to improve the effectiveness and its contribution to development.
And then this aid should be based on a partnership. And there are a few principles of Paris Declaration: ownership, alignment, harmonization, managing for results, and the last one, very important, is the mutual accountability. It should not be taken for granted that it is aid, so in whatever way we want to use it, or we just waste it, let the donor country or the donor partner, they should be thinking about it and not the host country, or the recipient country.
So with this background, let’s see what FATA is. First, the geographical profile, then administration therein, and then I will come to the socioeconomic indicators, and I will stay a little longer on it. This is Pakistan. And then Islamabad – and here it is – on the border with Afghanistan is FATA. FATA is having seven administrative units, known as agencies, six frontier regions, which are sub-units attached to the neighboring districts.
Twenty-seven thousand (27,000) square kilometer population, and about 3.8 million people living there. The striped areas, you can see these areas are known as the “newly open areas.” The government of Pakistan had no physical and no administrative access to these areas. Now, this is very important to note: That the hub of the militant activities, most of them are located in these newly open areas.
The tribal administration is very simple. One on side is the political administration – elders and mullahs of the tribes. The security apparatus, the local ones, are hasadas (ph) and levies (ph). Frontier Corps is a militia force, paramilitary. And the law is Frontier Crimes Regulation. The crux of that law is the collective and the tribal responsibility.
Let me explain it further. All other areas of the British India were known as districts. And the British government annexed those areas to collect revenue. When it came to the tribal area, they found it very difficult, because there was no local resources which they can tax, administratively too difficult to directly administer them.
So a system was developed where, instead of dipticum (ph), inshallah, our collector, a representative of the government was appointed to deal with the tribesmen. That representative was known as prutikreja (ph). And a treaty and agreement was signed between the tribes and between the government with some very simple principles.
The British government wanted the tribesmen – number one, they allowed their supply lines to be intact and protected. They will not allow tribal territory to be used for any operation against the British government. And they will not give asylum to any state offender. In return, unlike the rest of India, the British government would pay the tribesmen allowances: the collective allowance – the moajib (ph) – to the whole tribe; secondly, the individual allowances to the tribal chiefs; and thirdly, recruitment of the tribesmen in the local force. That provided immediate employment to the young population of those times.
The entire tribal territory, so annexed, was then divided into agencies – administrative units – but the general pattern of administration remained the same. Frontier Crimes Regulation, which is one of the most debated – it is neither a substantive law, nor it covers the entire FATA. I just want to remove this myth, that tribal areas are governed by FCR. FCR is applicable hardly, hardly to 10 percent of the population, and hardly to 10 percent of the area.
The entire 90 percent area – the remaining 90 percent area and people, they are governed by their own customary laws and traditions. If anything happens in those areas, the tribal chiefs and mullahs – they decide the issue between themselves. FCR, at the best, could be described as the document that governs the relationship between the tribesmen and between the government.
So if anything happens what is known as “the protected area” – and what are the protected areas? Roads, telegraph lines, government installations, forts – (inaudible) – posts. Later, we included schools and health and other such facilities and areas of the smaller tribes which, by their own consent, requested the government that our areas should be taken under the direct control of the government.
These are the protected areas. If anything happens there, then the political agent has the right, under the FCR, to take governance of that issue. Seldom, in very rare cases, if anything happens even in the unprotected areas and the issue is of such magnitude that it can become a threat to the entire security situation of the area, then the political agent can take governance of it. Otherwise, no.
FATA terrain is normally – generally, it is very high, rugged mountains, cultivable land, very less, little water resources, pine, oak and wild (olive ?) forest common. The weather is so extreme that on one hand, you’ll find freezing temperatures in upper Kurram and Orakzai, and on the other hand, you will find sizzling temperatures in Jandola and the area in F.R. D.I (sp). So the weather is also not friendly.
And this area always remain food deficient – it has always remained food deficient. In a very recent survey – a very recent survey with the help of our international partners – it was found that 43 percent of the population – 43 percent of the population – they live, they work outside FATA to earn their livelihood.
Now, if you take, also, into consideration that one man earns for the entire family, then this 43 percent ratio, or proportion, speaks volumes of the non-sustainability of life in the tribal area. These are some of the social indicators. And I have made a comparison with – I have – (inaudible) – FATA then NWFP and Pakistan. I think this just one side speaks of the poverty and of the current conditions there.
Population density is 117 from FATA, as compared to 166 and 238 for NWFP. Irrigated area, as percentage of cultivated area, is 40 to 52 to 82. And then population per irrigated hectare: 44 persons in FATA, as compared to nine in the rest of the country. Literacy rate – look at the female rate: 3 percent, as compared to 32 percent in the rest of the country. So these are the social indicators of FATA.
The social system of tribesmen – it’s a tribal society. Tribal society thrives, number one, on the kin bonding – possessiveness, opposition to any change, and looking with suspicion on any external factor that may or may not be for the benefit of the tribesmen. But the very fact that it is an external factor, it will be looked with suspicion. With this – (inaudible) – with this social condition, the key element of the tribesmen life, the key element is survival.
And I will stress on this point, because there is a myth that perhaps everything that is being done in tribal area, or everything that is being practiced by the tribesmen, it is out of religion, born out of love for Islam. There is no doubt about it, that they are all Muslims – practicing Muslims – but this practicing Muslim has a qualification. And that qualification is – (pause) – ready to die for religion, but not to live for it. And they will follow their religion if it does not clash with the social norms.
I can give you two examples – one from the neighboring area where Syed Ahmad Shaheed (ph) – (inaudible). When he came and he occupied almost the entire Peshawar Valley and people respected him, and there is nothing against him that he was a man of his word or he cheated anybody – nothing like this. And the Pashtuns – all Pashtuns supported him.
But as soon as he entered into the social life of Pashtuns, just in 24 hours – just in 24 hours – the entire force was exterminated except for three platoons whose commanders were wise enough, who sensed the danger, and they survived by leaving that area before the daytime. The entire army was eliminated. And this is the common conclusion of all the historians, whether who are pro-Syed Ahmad Shaheed or who were against Syed Ahmad Shaheed, even his own fellows.
So please remember this point: That we should not take it for granted that if everything is based on religion, it will be accepted by FATA people. If it is going to help them in their survival, they will definitely approve it. But if it is going to become, or perceived to be a threat to their life, they will not take it.
The other example: You can find that all the religious movements in the tribal area, whether it was Faqir of Ipi in North Waziristan, Mullah Powindah in South Waziristan or Haji Zaral Tarakzai in Mohmand and Bajaur, none of them was a planned movement. All the movements were reactions. And this is why they could not survive beyond the pioneers.
The economic system, I think I have already explained a little bit. Limited livelihood opportunities; mainly pastoral economy with subsistence agriculture; 70 percent of total area is cultivated. The land holdings are so small that 85 percent of the land holdings are less than five acres. Livestock rearing; few businesses and trading. And then the last point is really important. There’s internal and external migration.
I think this is a point that maybe someone would like to go into more details, because this is a point that normally, we commit mistakes, and normally, we err. We have not developed – we could not develop, so far, that critical mass of development in the FATA. So whatever piecemeal efforts are being done, the result is everyone who gets money, he just shifts that money to other areas for reinvestment.
And if he’d put that investment in the human resources, then whoever becomes a qualified doctor or an engineer or a scientist or an otherwise educated man, his first effort is to find a job elsewhere and not to come back to FATA. So there is a permanent human and financial drain from FATA. So a vicious circle of underdevelopment. Unless we can break down this vicious circle and unless we can develop that critical mass, then we can think of the advanced stages of development.
The donors’ interventions. The biggest donor is the U.S. government. It is through the USAID and also, through their other agencies. One of the major factors that USAID is not seen to be contributing – that the problem is so huge, the requirements are so enormous, and we have hardly covered three years (ph). And if people expect in three years, miracle will happen, I think he or she is to think twice, whether the development miracles happen in three years or not.
But some things that are very positive, very positive, things are happening. I give you a small example – a very small example. Sometimes, when I give this example, people laugh out loud. Marble quarrying, marble mining is being practiced in FATA. And we have big resources of marble. Now, our practice is blasting out the marble mines. Seventy-five (75) to 85 percent marble is just wasted in the quarry, it is clear.
And when the same irregular blocks of marble are transported to the down-districts, their transportation heads over a processed square feet (ph). It goes high. So first, there is a loss in the quarry. Secondly, there is a loss also in the transportation. And thirdly, when you cut that irregular piece in different tiles, then there are cracks, which only the businessmen, the contractors and the experts know. So in the international market we have very limited acceptability.
Now, as a pure economist, when I receive a request that we want to invest in the mining sector, so I just look at it – who is going to pay, back the loan, what will be the guarantee. And when I come to the conclusion that there is a law that does not protect me, and I’m also not sure of the investment and there are parallel opportunities where I can get better returns, the result is that I do not invest, and as an economist, I do not recommend for any investment.
But as a social economist, when I look at the same problem, that how much wealth is being saved, how much more taxes are being generated, how many more people are going to get jobs and benefited, and lastly, how many more people are going to take this as a role model and invest their own money in the other quarries, then I really accept it. We have adopted the second approach.
With the USAID assistance, we started a very small project. How to produce blocks, how to avoid blasting, and how to go for cutting. I’m very happy to say that part has started production. The demand that we have received, it is now beyond our capacity, unless we open more and more quarries. And even the private sector has started putting their investment in those sectors.
So just with one little intervention, the savings – just take that 85 percent saving, or 75 or 60 percent saving, and also, the increase in the life of the mine. So what I want to stress here is that these small and little interventions, which may not find a place in The Economist or in the world media, because here, people are more interested in big things – also in my country, not just here. We are more interested to project – to Tarbela Dam and Bhasha Dam. But these small interventions in these tribal areas are making big benefits to us.
The two other interventions – I’m going to stop very soon – the two other interventions – one is this OTI, where the USAID is more focused on the bigger projects, Office of Transition Initiatives is a U.S. government initiative, but we focus only on small-scale, where we directly go to the beneficiary. Small farms; lining up irrigation channels; replacement of the traditional seeds with the improved varieties; a drinking water supply scheme in the nearby stream; have a farm – like a cooperative farm – and then providing them with a tractor.
Despite all the militancy in Bajaur, not a single complaint has come out of that project. Similarly is the FATA rural development project – again, an international intervention with government of Pakistan being a partner, where we have mobilized the community. Okay, we are going to help you if you also contribute. That may be very small – maybe 30 percent, maybe 15 percent, 12 percent. But we are not going to give you for free. You must contribute.
And we are not going to involve the government bureaucracy. You have to mobilize yourselves, tell us the – and this is so difficult in a tribal area where everybody thinks – I may clarify here, we are not like Baluchistan, where a sardar is the chief of the tribe. Our chiefs, our mullahs, at the best, you can call them first among the equals – that’s all.
So here, in our (language we say ?) everybody is more than (a kilo ?). There is nobody a kilo. So in a society where everybody wants to be leader, community mobilization for our people is a real hard task. But they have done it. So these are the small interventions where we work with the community directly. And here, we produce results. I have brought some documents just to show that.
And these are also available on our website. Anybody wants to have more information, you’re most welcome. Then one last forum (ph), and then – these are the U.S. government interventions. Just glance at them. And then look at the intervention of the rest of the world: United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Italy, Asian Development Bank, U.N., World Food, IFAD.
So we would request that the friends of Pakistan please join the United States in giving us assistance to improve the livelihood of FATA people. Don’t make it just an all-American affair. It means we are supporting that theory that American aid is to fight against the militancy, where my message is and my request should be that fighting militancy is one sector, but to deny space to the militants, to deny space to the militants is another sector of our intervention. And that is only the development. Where a military man can give you results within a short span of time, the development man needs a long time.
And lastly, when you are talking to the tribesmen, they believe what you say. So once there is a commitment and we go away from that commitment, it means we lose their trust. And once their trust is lost, I always tell the political agent that no, this is a time for you to pack your bag and come to the secretariat. Because if you are a political agent and you have lost the trust of the tribe, you have no right to rule that area, to go on that area.
So my message is very clear and it should be taken at its word, that whatever commitment we make with FATA, for FATA development, it should contain it and all the requirements of monitoring accountability, that systems – we have placed those systems, and anybody is welcome to visit any area. The only question is if they inform us well in time, we can arrange their visit to anyplace.
It’s not a normal area, again I say. But – (inaudible) – wait for the time when the militancy is over and then we go to development, or let the law enforcement agencies confront the militants and we also continue with the development wherever the space is available to us. Thank you very much.
MR. NAWAZ: Thank you. (Applause.) You want to join us here? Thank you.
MR. YUSUF: Let me also thank the audience for listening. (Chuckles.)
MR. NAWAZ: As Mr. Khan comes back to the table and we begin our questions, I’m going to ask that if you have a question, you try and get my attention. And then when I recognize you, if you would please introduce yourself after the microphone reaches you so that we can record the intervention, we’d appreciate that.
And then we hope to put this transcript on the Web so that others that couldn’t make it here could also benefit from listening to Mr. Khan. I’m going to take the moderator’s privilege to ask you a couple of questions myself, and I’m sure Moeed has a bunch, also. But let me, first of all, take you back to your reference to the USAID program, which is the largest of all the donor countries.
The $750 million, five-year program, which you said is now in its third year – can you give us a little more specific detail of what it has actually launched and in which agencies has it been most effective? Because the fighting still continues, or has only, officially, recently concluded in Orakzai. But is it, for instance, active in South Waziristan? Has it been used in Bajaur, particularly for the reconstruction and rehabilitation? Or has it been mainly confined to the territories that are closest to Peshawar?
MR. KHAN: Thank you very much. The USAID program is the largest program, and the first effort that was made in FATA secretariat, and with the donors, was to identify the areas where we can intervene. Because the most important point was to fix the strategic direction. For that, efforts were made and then a plan was prepared. This is FATA’s sustainable development plan from 2006 to 2015. It’s a nine-year plan where all sectors have been identified, and then activities have been identified.
The second step was that in FATA, there were some areas where we did not want to go for any development because they were the hardcore areas, or you can say they were in the control of the militants. But there were definitely some areas where we could go. Secondly, there were some programs which we could do it even in those areas, because they were not territorially bound, like vocational training programs, where we could take people outside their areas and train them in the vocation institutes or high-quality educational institutes of the rest of the country.
So the USAID programs are not confined to a particular agency. The example of Bajaur, I give, because Bajaur was the first agency were we started this OTI program. In the OTI program, the beauty of that program was, first, that it started immediately after the area was cleared from the militants. And secondly, it was a totally decentralized program. There was a big shopping list. That shopping list was approved, that okay, we will intervene in these areas. But when and how, that was left to the field offices.
So in Bajaur Agency, an implementation mechanism was involved where the political agent, head of the civil administration, the foreign agency’s commander and the U.S. government representative – these three people – and lastly, the department head – if it involves irrigation, then it was irrigation department; if it was public health then the public health department had – they were there to look into those schemes and identify the projects to be launched, prepared the documents for it and then monitored the work.
So it was very quick, and then secondly, the community was involved. Because when the schemes were identified, the representatives would go to the communities and tell them that we want to do this, this, this, this job, and what are your priorities, so that we can do the first job according to your priority, or do you want a group of jobs to be done as a priority? So this is why we neither faced any resistance, nor there was any complaint. The same model was then replicated in Mohmand Agency, and we hope that we will also have the same model in South Waziristan now.
Among the big projects, with the U.S. government and the USAID assistance we have done, I think the most successful was this vocational training program, where we sent our youth outside FATA and trained them in different skills, and also sent them to different schools. I give you two small examples that will clarify the issue. It was not our preference only just to provide them skills; we also wanted to expose them to the new world, that there is also a different world.
There is also a different world and – maybe I will, a little, deviate from my talk and – there is a book – it is no more confidential; now, it has been published – all the suicide attempts that have been foiled. Then a group of psychologists went and they interviewed all of them. The report has now been published. It is in Urdu. One thing in common in that report was that those people had no purpose. That was the common thing. Many other factors, but one thing that was common was, they had no purpose.
So when these youngsters from tribal area went to Lahore and to Gujranwala and to Peshawar, they were exposed to a different life. And many of them got jobs in the same institutes or in the same organizations where they were sent for on-the-job training. That was a success story.
Similarly, I can recall that in the Taxila education city (ph), we sent people and we provided them financial incentives. But when it comes to the time of their next relatives, they paid their own fees and they made it a point to get his brother or his cousin admitted into the same institute, they found them to be so good.
And the bigger point is, the USAID – there were a few projects, and already one I listed – improvement of roads. But that was design four, five years before. Now, when the total area was reviewed, in that we found that development of trade corridors between Afghanistan and Pakistan, that is of tremendous importance. Because even historically in these areas, the trade routes was a very strong point of the tribesmen.
But where there was the communism in Russia and Afghanistan is a poor country, Pakistan came into being after 1947. So all these factors combined and these trade routes were not utilized for trade. Now the market economy and even relationships between Pakistan and other countries are more and more tilting towards trade and the improvement of the economy. So we redesigned all those roads that were leading to Afghanistan as trade corridor roads.
The two project that we have taken in South Waziristan with the USAID assistance – and work is going on. I’m telling you, this is not just a document or a planning stage. No, physical work is going on. One that will connect, ultimately, the Indus Highway, with South Waziristan, to Unguruda (ph), and from – Unguruda is the town which is situated right on the Afghan border.
And principally aided by the World Bank to develop the other trade route to Nawa Pass that will connect the motorway to Chakdara and onwards to Khar in Bajaur Agency and Nawa Pass and then to Jalalabad. The Khyber road, which is very common, the government of Pakistan has already sanctioned a project for that, to improve it. And from Torkham up to Jalalabad, that road has been built by Pakistan funds as a courtesy for the government of Afghanistan. So these are some of the big projects. There are two dam projects which are being undertaken by the USAID assistance.
MR. NAWAZ: Speaking of roads – and you were talking of South Waziristan – can you shed some light on the nature of the relationship between the military and the civil in planning these projects? Because in the previous administration in Pakistan, the impression was largely that when the military went in, they basically decided what to do and bypassed the civil administration. So to what extent is that still the case, or to what extent has it changed? So perhaps you could talk about South Waziristan.
MR. KHAN: I think we have to go back to the FATA context. The use of military for development is not something new or novel to the tribal area. The entire development work that was done by the British government, it was through the military engineering services. You cannot give me a single example where the military was not involved in the development or construction or any such activity of infrastructure development in tribal area without the military intervention.
So it can be different in the rest of the country, but in Pakistan, in FATA particularly, the military has the capacity. And not only these roads, but if I can give you example of the Karakorum Highway, that was built by the Frontier Works Organization. The main roads, NLC (ph) and the main bridges, NLC with a subsidy of Pakistan – (inaudible) – agencies that is constructing and involved in that construction.
So in tribal area, we are facing three different issues, and converging all on us. Number one, people want quick results, so we want to have an organization that can deliver according to the time schedule that we agree with them. So on this road, we have started work at three different places so that we can complete them within one-and-a-half years, or maximum, two years.
Secondly, we want that if there is any security issue – any security issue – then instead of, again, the project going into the cold storage, why don’t we resolve that issue right there and then and move further? And thirdly, the availability of the organizational skills and people – when the FATA situation became bad to worse or worse to worse, then even our other projects suffered.
Now, at this time, if I want the civilian organizations to come to FATA, they will have a list of one to 100 demands. Because if, for example – it’s not something good, but it has happened, that the flood damages have created enormous opportunities for the civil contractors in the rest of the country. So a man who is stationed in Karachi or in Lahore or in Peshawar or in Islamabad, and he’s getting ample opportunity of business there, why should he move to the tribal area? Why should he move to the comparatively uneasy conditions?
We, at the civil administration, we are totally involved with the army. It’s almost like a giant team effort. And the relationship or equation with the army and the civilian administration is almost like members of the same team. So it’s not that the army is doing everything on their own. No, we are totally involved in it.
MR. NAWAZ: Thank you. I’m going to ask Moeed if he has a question before we –
MR. YUSUF: I just have a quick one and then we can open up. I just wanted to get some sense of this idea of aid effectiveness, and that being a vehicle for change in the perception of the United States in this region. In Washington, in my view, more so than it should be, aid is also seen as a lever to, sort of, change hearts and minds, if you will.
How much of that do you think – first of all, do you think that’s the right lens? Should one even be talking about aid in those terms? And second, if so, then are you – I mean, is there any change that is taking place, where it’s not visible by looking at the Pakistani media at all, but can you sense anything? If all these USAID projects are in place, are people having a buy-in?
MR. KHAN: Mr. Moeed has asked a very intriguing and a very complicated question. Back in Kosovo (ph), we had a counseling service within the U.N. system. So one of the gentlemen, he was a bit disturbed. So he went to the counseling service and the lady asked him how many times you listen to the BBC yet. So this man wanted to become smart. He said, I listen every news edition, and my Internet, the BBC website is always open. So she said that the first advice is just listen to the news once a day. (Laughter.)
The problem here is that we have so many other issues that when it comes to an issue related to FATA, then it does not get the limelight, it does not get the primary importance in the national or international media. And in another way, it has become almost like a cycle, that if there is a new development in science and technology – and I do ask these questions when I interview the young candidates for jobs, that why Mr. So-and-So has been given Nobel Prize this year.
And majority of the replies, that they tell me that they don’t know this man has got the Nobel Prize, what to talk about his work or contribution. But I can tell you what is the local perception. The local perception is that in these floods, people came on Pakistan television and other channels – and I will give example of Kalam people from Swat – and they very openly said that the U.S. helicopters were the first helicopters that came to their rescue, and the rest came later.
Similarly, in the anchorperson, these TV talks, when Mr. Holbrooke’s statement was criticized, that he’s trying to create differences between our friends, and one of the gentlemen was trying to advance his arguments on that line. The man sitting with him, he said very simply, can you go back to the original question? Where are the friends?
I mean, these – I can see these changes are big changes – that people are now openly confronting those people who are just opposing U.S. or condemning U.S. for no reason. And in tribal area, I can give you a few examples that the same OTI program and the FATA rural development program, which, people think that it’s from the donors, still, they are working there. There are contributing.
The visitors we receive from outside, the majority of them are from the U.S. government or U.S. government agencies. (Inaudible) – in this world of media, it needs a separate – I should say a separate channel or a separate sector or a separate department to work on the image-building. And except for the people who have the ideology and ideological commitment, because they are also supportive of the same ideas, which the militants convey, I don’t feel there’s any problem or there is any criticism underscored.
In fact, the criticism that is mainly coming is that the U.S. government has announced this much money, and we want – where is that money? Please tell us where that money is being spent. And then we have to explain to them that his $750 million is a commitment, is an agreement. It does not mean that $750 million has come in one day and it is deposited in some bank account. I hope I have answered –
MR. YUSUF: Yes, thank you.
MR. NAWAZ: I think I have a first question here, and then I have a number of names that I’ll –
Q: Dr. Khan, is there any way – oh, I’m sorry, Arnaud de Borchgrave, CSIS – is there any way of measuring how much of the work you have achieved – the Army, USAID – how much of that has been subsequently destroyed by the insurgents?
MR. KHAN: There is a general policy guideline that in tribal areas, the system of administration is such that it is the tribe that is responsible for any development intervention and for any government asset within that area. So once an area – and this is the requirement of the donors – once an area is declared to be free from militants, the first and foremost objective is to have a damage need assessment – DNA.
That damage need assessment has been completed for Mohmand and Bajaur. And then it is presented to the donor countries, and the first program that was about to be launched before the floods, that was the assistant to the housing reconstruction, which has been, unfortunately, delayed due to the floods. Otherwise, we do not focus or we do not direct the USAID assistance, or any other donor’s assistance, just on the infrastructure or facilities that has been damaged by the militants.
We take that development as an overall issue of the tribal area. So once – when I say that we are building this road, it does not mean that this road has been damaged by the militants. Or when we are introducing new agricultural techniques, it does not mean that, that agriculture has been damaged by them. What we are trying to focus is that we should not provide another target to the militants – that I build a school today and the next day, they blast it out.
I would much prefer that we provide the same educational facilities to them in a – (inaudible) – building or in a rented building, or in some other facility, but not to give them another chance to blast my school or my health facility. In that case, wherever the facility has been destroyed, in all the areas that we have cleared for the IDP returns, it is our first goal to make it so that all those services are restored.
So if I can say, in Bajaur, in all the areas that have been cleared, and in Orakzai, where now, the IDPs have started, and even for South Waziristan, where we have made the program for the IDPs’ return, to be shortly started after the Eid vacation, there we have made all the arrangements.
Q: The other thing I wanted to know, Dr. Khan, is what percentage would you say of the seven agencies is now secure territory? What percentage of the seven tribal areas?
MR. KHAN: If I compare the situation of 2008 and now, 2010, I think for the small pockets on the border with Afghanistan in Mohmand Agency, a very small pocket – less than, even, 10 percent. And similarly on Bajaur Agency. Because now, the militants are on run. They have no territorial hold there. So they are just going from one area to another area and they are playing, like, a hide-and-seek game with us.
But there is no complete territory under their control for these two agencies. (Inaudible) – was already there. When we say that area is not secure, we just mean that the infrastructure has not been destroyed completely – the militant infrastructure has not been destroyed completely. Otherwise, even the most turbulent area of South Waziristan – we have reached the Shawar Mountains, and Shawar Mountain was an area where even the British did not reach.
The Gharazai area of Mohmand Agency, even the British government did not extend those areas.
When I was showing on the map these newly opened areas, these are the areas where the British government did not extend the writ. But our government has extended the writ there.
MR. NAWAZ: José and then Christina (sp).
Q: Thank you. Thank you, Shuja. My name is José Cardenas with Kestrel, USA. We are part of a family of companies that operate, or are based, in Pakistan. Thank you, Dr. Khan, for your visit here to Washington to help us better understand the situation on the ground. I had a question going back to the dilemma that you identified of residents of the FATA who leave once they achieve a significant level of education or experience. They leave to seek their fortunes elsewhere and contribute to this cycle of underdevelopment.
And yet, you also mentioned a successful technical education program, vocational training program. I’m wondering, how do you reconcile that dilemma when you are working with foreign donors, that you are identifying this cohort, this vulnerable, critical cohort of young Pakistanis that you want to put through these technical education/vocational training programs? What incentives do you try to build into these programs to keep them there to achieve that critical mass of development that you refer to?
MR. NAWAZ: I think it’s a very good question, and this is a very big challenge. A very good question and a very big challenge. We are trying on many fronts. The first objective is at least to slow down this process of total migration from the tribal area to the central districts, and secondly, to create centers of security and centers of quality services. Thirdly, ensuring that communications access is available in almost all areas so that they can keep contact with their own homes or with their own families.
I will just focus on this one program, this third one – rural to urban centers convergence initiative towards social transformation. Precisely, this is the program that we have now launched, and we hope that this is going to be a good success story. The model is based, again, on the concept of providing security and the quality services together at the same place. Under this program, the major towns, like Miran Shah, Wana, Khar, the headquarters, and then the second-big towns, like – (inaudible) – these areas – first, a circle will be drawn, let’s say five to 15 kilometers radius, that these are the protected areas.
So legally, any tribe or any section who wants to live here or wants to do business here, they will have the umbrella of government protection. Secondly, we will make it so that within this circle, also, we have the permanent structure of the law enforcement agencies. And thirdly, all of the services – we have hospitals, agency headquarters hospitals everywhere – but then people don’t come there. So we will provide incentive to the doctors, and also change in the service structure, so that these folks do not become transferable; they were just recruited for that very post with a bigger salary, higher salary.
And then, accommodation and agency facilities to the same people who are coming and living there, and thirdly, also, facilities for their children, like a good primary school. So schools, health facilities and, for the tribal people, all other extension services in veterinary circle, in forestry, in livestock – they will all be available there. So they don’t see – they don’t look to us – Peshawar or Mardan or Buner or Dera Ismail Khan – and they are centered towards that area.
This concept of tribal areas rural-to-urban centers conversion initiative, in fact, it has been taken from the old days. When a city was to be built, first, the law enforcement agencies or armies will come and camp there. And then they will declare that area to be safe area, so anybody can come and live there. So it’s an effort to create a nucleus of that social life, which are quite away and quite distant from the tribal life.
Because the tribal life, it revolves around isolation. Here, we want to break that isolation. So these are some of the steps that we are taking. But I totally agree, this is a great and a very big challenge. And if we can produce the quality services here, and secondly, whatever that we are talking of the trade corridors and the mineral development, I think we will slow down the migration very significantly. But if there are no jobs, there is no sustainability, naturally, people – this is not a problem of only FATA; it is also a problem of rural-to-urban migration in the rest of the underdeveloped countries.
MR. NAWAZ: Thank you. What I’ll suggest is, we take two questions together and then see if we have time for, perhaps, one more at the end. Because Dr. Khan has to leave at 11:30 sharp to get to his next appointment. So Christina?
Q: Thank you. Christina Rocca from CBR Strategies. And thank you very much for this very interesting and very helpful presentation.
MR. NAWAZ: You may want to keep it closer to your mouth, please. Thank you.
Q: Oh, okay. Anyway, I wanted to thank you for the very helpful presentation. Very interesting. And José essentially asked my question, but I do have a follow-up to Moeed Yusuf and Arnaud de Borchgrave’s question, which is, is it a good idea – or are the projects that USAID – that are U.S.-funded that you talked about, and others, are they branded as such, or is it something where the little marker that says that the U.S. helped in this water project is hidden in tall grass somewhere intentionally in order to not make it a target?
And are USAID or U.S.-funded projects specifically targeted? Is that something that comes into the calculation of how to go about putting these projects together? And then finally, a very short one, which is, do you have an example of, really, what not to do? I don’t want to pinpoint any specific donor, but it’s useful because one learns from one’s mistakes.
MR. NAWAZ: And let’s take one more question in the back, and then you can respond to.
MR. NAWAZ: But go ahead with the other question.
Q: Thank you very much. Hamid Harsin (ph), work for Voice of America Pashto to the border region service. The area that you are talking about, we broadcast nine hours of live content to the area, and I, myself, come from Peshawar. Thank you very much. My question is, you’ve been talking about the challenges in the spread of aid and everything about that, but would you elaborate on how it has changed the life of a common tribesman, trickling down, this aid, in some way, number one?
And secondly, how the federal government, coming to aid the tribal area, I the sense of development? And the question – we, yesterday, interviewed the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Owais Ghani, and he said the Islamic countries are coming forward and giving aid for the development of FATA. And do you have any information on what countries and for what purposes? Thank you very much.
MR. NAWAZ: Go ahead with both these questions. (Pause.)
MR. KHAN: If I have understood the question correctly – otherwise, you can correct me – the answer is that in the very beginning, we will not label the development schemes as a U.S. government scheme or a German GTZ program, but now we do. Not only that number – that plaque is there, but also, those hands (ph) are there. (Chuckles.) And there is also, like, a publicity and – we call the elders of those areas and they come and they pray and then they inaugurate that program. So it’s not a secret anymore. And we want that people should know.
The point that I want to stress is – and I’m also articulating this point with my international partners, all – that – and maybe this is because of my interest. I am selfish in it. Please don’t allow us just to be dependent on the U.S. government, because this conveys a very wrong signal to the population there. And when the donors – and we are very happy with the U.S. government on this – very happy – because we are working together and they understand our problems and we appreciate their concern.
But then, there are some other donor countries, and they have their own problems. So if they cannot get a security clearance to move out of Islamabad, who can ask them to come to Peshawar? And then at the same time, they want me – that, how can you monitor our activities. I said, my friend, if you cannot come out of Islamabad, how can I tell you how can you monitor your work in FATA?
So the point that I want to make is that the American media, the U.S. government think tanks and people who make the opinion change, or who, at least, contribute to the policymaking – they should – because the problem that we are facing is an international problem. It has an international dimension. Whoever thinks that this is just a Pakistan problem or a U.S. problem, I think they are mistaken.
So if we can get contributions from the rest of the world, at least we can tell people that the entire world is behind you, and they want to help you and they want to assist you. So I think I have answered your questions, that first, we are making it very clear. But if you asked me, I would much like that there should be other nameplates that I should be inaugurating with the tribal areas, because they convey the message to the tribe.
Today, we have opened a road with a U.S. government assistance; today, we have started work on a dam construction with XYZ country; today, we have started a micro-financing project with the help of ABC country. So that is the message that I want to convey. And secondly, when I say I’m a bit selfish, if I place all my eggs in just one basket, and tomorrow, they change the government policy here in the U.S. for some other reason – not because they will be unhappy with FATA.
And I had that experience, when I was working with the USAID project of – (inaudible). Everybody was satisfied and we had a number of visitors from the U.S. government and even the third-party village leaders and the outside auditors. And all of them gave A-plus grading to our project. And even my counterparts, the American expatriates, they were very happy. And we were so good with the people – spent nights with them and take their – (inaudible).
But then came the present amendment (ph) and just within 24 hours, we were asked to stop where you are. If you are in the middle of the road and you are about to be crushed by a 20-meter trailer, we cannot help you, because you just stay there. Because now, the present amendment has come, and nothing more. This is why I want to convey this message, and I think this is the opportunity that I also want to share with you our concern.
How FATA people are going to be benefited out of the development schemes? If we succeed and get these commitments in the time span that we have been told, it will be a total benefit to the community. I agree, the smart people will take more benefits. For example, just look at the trade corridors. I cannot imagine, I cannot imagine the amount of money and the amount of job opportunities that will come.
Despite the war, despite the turbulent situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the trade on Khyber, it has gone almost 300 percent – the informal trade. Now, an average man will only be happy because now, he is going to sell, instead of 10 coffee, he will be selling 50 coffee. But the smart man will open a warehouse. He will make a giant – (inaudible) – Afghan transporter, and maybe somebody will start becoming a middleman between Afghanistan and Pakistan for the trade routes. Okay, I will buy here and you sell it in Afghanistan; or you buy it in Afghanistan and I will sell it in Pakistan.
So same indication with mineral development. The smart guy will go and he will start business in the mining. And I can name people, just with the chromite or the marble business, they’ll become millionaire. But other gentleman who belongs to the same village, he’s just happy with the cash allowances that he gets – that every truck that is transported outside my mountain or my village, I will get rupees hundred or rupees thousand per truck.
And one of our themes is that we are going, this time, with the macro-picture. Because the objective is not the development of this or that, but a macro-development so that we can transform a society that just looks inward to start looking outward. And about the governor’s statement that Islamic countries are coming, yes, the UAE has very recently sanctioned the – (inaudible, laughter). So the UAE government has – I mean, this money has already reached Pakistan and the projects have been identified and they have been picked up.
The Saudi government has shown interest. I had a meeting with the Turkish government. They are very happy. So there are some countries who are in the final stages. And they just need a little jump from this “if” and “but” to start working. And we are quite optimistic that when they see the other countries and other people, that they are doing work, they will definitely come.
MR. NAWAZ: Thank you. I’m going to take the last three questions. So if you could make the questions short, Dr. Khan will keep his answers short because he has to leave. So I’m going to start, first, over here.
Q: Thank you. My name is Anne Suitzer (ph). I’m an anthropologist. I lived in the frontier province. I’ve also worked with ADB. I was under the impression that there was a competition between various local radio stations in FATA underway a couple of years ago; does that still exist? And I’d also like to ask the question that always comes last in these meetings.
What efforts are being made to address the needs of women under these programs? When you speak of the community priorities, were efforts made to go door-to-door to ask women what their priorities were? And was there an initiative included for them in the Taruchi (ph) initiative? Thank you.
MR. NAWAZ: Thank you.
Q: Brian Vogt with the National Democratic Institute. A question – we would argue, at NDI, that part of development is expanding democratic institutions around the world. And last year, last August, President Zardari had announced steps towards changes in the political situation in FATA. So far, those changes haven’t been implemented, related to the FCR and political parties, and so forth. What is your opinion as to why these changes haven’t been implemented, why they haven’t yet come to pass, even though a year ago, they were announced?
Q: Well, this is an easy question, I think.
MR. NAWAZ: If you could identify yourself, please.
Q: Yes, I’m Mary Hope Schwoebel. I’m with the U.S. Institute of Peace. I’m interested in this issue of opening up the trade corridors, and I guess I’d like to hear from you, what are some of the challenges and constraints and opportunities for doing that more effectively, beyond roads? And also, I disagree with you a little bit, just that it’s smart people that take advantage of economic opportunities.
I think it’s also people who are well-connected and, you know, have a little bit of capital and this, that and the other. So I’m wondering how might one open up the trade corridors in ways that, maybe, more people would benefit – you know, that you could reach some of the less-advantaged members of the population in FATA?
MR. KHAN: For the first question, I wish if I could have more time. Then I could explain something.
MR. NAWAZ: Maybe they’ll follow you to your next presentation. (Laughter.)
MR.KHAN: Normally, when I read these type of stories, that women in Pakistan are not doing anything, or 50 percent of women are sitting idle, I just feel sorry. Because women in our areas, and particularly in tribal areas, they get up before the sun rises. They go to the mountains, cut fruit, cut grasses and then come back to the house, prepare a breakfast for their husbands and for their children.
Then they start working in the field with the same family and household, rearing anyone there, cooking food for them, and all household jobs. And this continues till everybody sleeps, and she’s the last one to sleep. And she’s the last one to take food – the leftover food. My approach to women’s development is always help the women in sectors where their time is consumed. Drinking water supply scheme, which it is the total responsibility of women to fetch water. It can be just a stream next to the village; it can be three kilometers away.
Try to develop the maternity health centers so that she does not go through that pain every year, with an unborn child or with an unintended abortion. Similarly, this livestock activity should become semi-commercial so that, at least, the family can start getting some earnings, not just to be an additional activity. All this, we improve these social indicators. All this will improve these social indicators, and we think we are going to improve the lives of women. To me, it is not possible.
What to talk of FATA – I mean, take rest of Pakistan. The government of Pakistan has increased the number of reserve seats for women in the national influential assemblies. Purely ideologically speaking, what contribution it has made in the common woman’s life in Pakistan? I’m not against it. I want to clarify myself: I’m not against it. But what contribution it has made?
Then our supreme court takes – (inaudible) – of a gang rape case, it has become internationalized. Has the gang rape been stopped in Pakistan? Or comparatively, you can take comparisons from similar societies elsewhere. So the target should be improvement of the living standards of women and the social indicators that impact woman life. If we can improve that, other things will come automatically.
I’ll just give a small example of inheritance. It is a Quranic command – it’s not something by the constitution or by some civil rights or human rights organization – it is a Quranic command. How many people –I asked this question when I was a very young officer back in 1983 and ’82, when the women commission came to my area of responsibility. And the head of that women commission, who is a well-known, educated family in our province, I asked her – out of respect, we say madam – your family is the most educated and socially and politically representative family in our country.
Why don’t you give inheritance to the daughters and to the sisters? And she could not respond. So please, when you are reviewing the situation of women in FATA, look into the broader context and put your efforts in that context. The results will come. I can give you another perfect example of the population welfare. All efforts have gone to the drain (ph), but families who are educated, you find in their second generation, people control themselves.
I should have only two babies or three babies, not that half-a-dozen babies everywhere. If you look into the demographic balance, it is the poor family who have got more children than the well-to-do family. Who has told them? Has any family planning motivator gone there? No, the education, the exposure.
Your question, sir, about the reforms that are pending with the president of Pakistan, yes, the government of Pakistan has agreed, in principle. The president and the prime minister has made that commitment. It is only the question of time. And I think the simple argument that I can give is that when the house is burning, every attention is to extinguish the fire. And secondly, you have also to think twice, that when the militants – when they have lost the ideological base, lost the support of the common tribesman, are we not giving them an opportunity to rally the tribesmen again on another point?
This will – maybe Mr. Shuja Nawaz and Mr. Moeed Yusuf, they can arrange a lecture on this issue. The religious movements in the Pashtun environment, whether FATA, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it always had a nationalistic dimension. So a movement which starts as a religious movement, it turns and morphs itself into a nationalism movement. And then the third one is the movement of how to survive; it’s an attack on their integrity and their home and their way of life.
So we have to be very careful on these issues. Secondly, there’s a big question of acceptability. And I will ask this question and I will not answer this question. When we are talking of the reforms – and the first thing is the this FCR. Everybody is talking FCR. My simple question is, when you talk to the people about FCR, just ask them. Okay, we agree with you. There should be no FCR tomorrow, but what law?
If anybody gives you an answer, I have my e-mail here, please send me that. And I have not seen any civilized society without any law. Even the communist countries have a law; even the fascist countries have a law. So when somebody gives you an answer that, okay, no FCR: agree, no argument. What should be the replacement law? When we are talking of a civilized society, individuals give up their rights, some of their rights, to a collective forum. The question is, are we ready for that sacrifice? So this is a bigger question what it seems on the surface.
The third one was that the smart guys always take benefit. It is not the question of only FATA or of the development corridor. I remember when I was studying in – (inaudible) – I had three colleagues, all the three got the same degrees. One was offered job within the city of becoming a little higher than the teaching assistant. The second one became a support staff, and the third one was driving a taxi. So the development only provides an environment of opportunities. It is not – people, for them, says who can exploit that opportunity? Who can take that opportunity?
MR. NAWAZ: I think let’s end on that optimistic note. (Laughter.) Obviously, Habibullah Khan could have easily stayed and talked for another hour or two, I’m sure.
MR. KHAN: There was a question of what not to do.
MR. NAWAZ: Yes, sorry.
MR. KHAN: I think here is the answer. (Laughter.) In some of the cases, it touched almost 50 percent.
MR. NAWAZ: Okay, thank you for clarifying that. So please join me in thanking Habibullah Khan. (Applause.)