After its merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA is passing through a historic transitional period, when it comes to its social, economic, and political fabric. Constitutionally-guaranteed, unique fundamental rights have been extended to this long underprivileged part of Pakistan. The resentment in its disgruntled youth is justified as common people of FATA have been at the receiving end in the fight against terrorism and few other undue malpractices. It has been a battleground for internal and external power brokers since long.In past, FATA has not only been exploited by foreign elements but by its own political and feudal elite. The conversations with indigenous people unfold overabundance of terrifying issues that plagued FATA before the merger. The FATA-KP merger is expected to bring pleasant and positive change for common people in the region.Historically, public representation for dispute resolution among competing parties used to be done by a group of powerful elite – Maliks – and they used to charge money for their input. Common people were victims of abusive manipulation in past. The merger will formalise the dispute resolution mechanism in FATA. Common people will enjoy proper legal framework for their rights and will be subject to law-mandated punitive measures for their liabilities.Also, political agents and Maliks used to get Maajib from the government as informal remuneration, which was unchecked, unaccounted for, and released without any formal scrutiny. Instead of representing people duly, they used to take decisions in favour of their own vested interests. FATA has an abundance of natural resources like marble, copper and limestone. Yet, it is an overly impoverished part of Pakistan. And Maliks are one of the main reason why. They have been using these resources only for themselves, while the common person continues to suffer. This misery of the masses will end with the mainstreaming of FATA they will become shareholders in natural resources.The doctrine of trichotomy of powers was non-existent in FATA. All the legislative, executive and judicial powers were predominantly in the hands of political agents.A state without equal and equitable distribution of powers and resources is a façade. The civil and criminal administration of justice has remained nothing more than wishful thinking for the people of FATA. The Constitution of Pakistan 1973 was not extended to this region, but now things will change.Another issue was the collective and territorial responsibility in FATA. Once a crime was committed by any individual in FATA, the entire family used to be collectively responsible for the offence.The doctrine of trichotomy of powers was non-existent in FATA. All the legislative, executive and judicial powers were predominantly in the hands of political agentsFurthermore, at times, residents of any particular territory were apprehended and victimised for crimes they never committed. This nefarious principle of collective and territorial responsibility caused insurmountable trouble for the people of FATA. Once the constitutional and legal scheme is implemented in FATA, its inhabitants will get rid of this menace once and for all.The extension of proper monetary system under the supervision of FBR and NAB will help controlling corruption in the region.The FCR, being a black law, has damaged FATA’s social structure more than anything else. As the practice used to be, within the bounds of FCR, there had been no arguments, no legal representation and no appealfor the accused.The principle enshrined in Article 10-A (right to fair trial) of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 was not available to the people of FATA. However, the suspension of FCR and extension of the general legal framework will change the things to a considerable level.The people of FATA were not allowed to decide their own fate before this merger. The extension of Political Parties Act and Election Act to FATA will make their voices heard. The people of FATA will be part and parcel of all changes taking place in the country.Before the merger, Maliks in FATA had unlimited discretionary powers to decide matters. They used to make decisions based on their conscience, which were not necessarily according to the expositions of rule of law. The merger will put a check on discretionary powers given to Maliks and political agents.Lastly, the mainstreaming of FATA will bring much needed public awareness for the people of this region. They lagged behind other parts of Pakistan because of unawareness. After the merger, they will stand at par with other parts of Pakistan in many ways.In summation, the KP-FATA merger is a win-win deal and common people of FATA should cherish it.The writer is a Melbourne-based researcher and authorPublished in Daily Times, July 14th 2018.