Society and Norms: National and Tribal Governance - Tribal

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As a territory of Pakistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are represented in both the National Assembly and the Senate. This territory falls under the jurisdiction of the President but does not have to follow laws by the National Assembly unless the President demands it. Various deputies and secretaries appointed by the President administer federal aid and local interference in politics is kept to a minimum because tribes are allowed to handle their own affairs according to customary traditions [21].

Every village, regardless of its size, has four sources of authority. The malik [Mah-LIK], also known as a khan, is a hereditary position passed on from father to son. The malik is the village headman and usually a wealthy landowner well respected for his quantity of arms and many male family members he can call in times of conflict. Maliks also act as representatives for their tribes to the national government and are given an allowance from the government for their cooperation. Lungi holders or sufaid resh are village leaders, like maliks, but hold less power. Lungi holders also receive an allowance from the government and hold non-hereditary positions as representatives of their sub-tribe or clan. The mashar or motabar are village elders that have influential status and power in political situations and are held in high esteem [22]. They may not be the ultimate authority, but their input is highly respected in decision making. Finally, the mullah [MUL-lah] is the leader of Islamic values and teachings. Because Pakistani society is so firmly entrenched in Islam, a mullah can hold great power. Mullahs may be closely connected to powerful religious networks both within and outside the country.

In rural settings, significant decisions are made via a council meeting known as a "jirga" [JIR-guh]. The village authorities are seated prominently at the head of the assembly. The centerpiece for the assembly may be a large rug, cloth or blanket. Guests or visitors are typically seated close to authority figures, followed by village males in descending order of seniority. Village or tribe members will then congregate around an open area in the center.

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