India-Pakistan: October 28, 2004


  Military operations in the Pakistani tribal areas are spotlighting the different set of laws that apply in the tribal zones along the Afghan border and in the southwest. In effect, the tribal leaders have the power of life and death over their people, a situation that was formally recognized by British colonial authorities in the 19th century, and continued when Pakistan was created in 1947. The tribal leaders are often capricious, and more interested in self-dealing and maintaining tradition, than in dispensing justice. As a result, the government is considering imposing regular laws on the tribal population.


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