The agreement, signed at the time of independence, did not include political autonomy of the tribes. The instruments of agreement, signed in 1948, granted the tribal areas a special administrative status. Except where strategic considerations dictated, the tribal areas were allowed to retain their semi-autonomous status, exercising administrative authority based on tribal codes and traditional institutions. This unique system was crystallized in Pakistan’s Constitution of 1973.
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas was a semi-autonomous tribal region in northwestern Pakistan that existed from 1947 until being merged with neighboring province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2018.
It consisted of seven tribal agencies (districts) and six frontier regions, and were directly governed by Pakistan’s federal government through a special set of laws called the Frontier Crimes Regulations. It bordered Pakistan’s provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan to the east and south, and Afghanistan’s provinces of Kunar, Nangarhar, Paktia, Khost and Paktika to the west and north.
The territory is almost exclusively inhabited by the Pashtun, who also live in the neighbouring provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Northern Balochistan, and straddle across the border into Afghanistan. They are mostly Muslim.