As the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas transition into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — a series of violent occurrences have marred the democratic process. A remote controlled bomb blast killed one, and injured three soldiers during a routine search in the Datta Khel Tehsil in North Waziristan. Subsequently, armed forces came to the Hamzoni village to arrest suspects. This arrest was resisted by the villagers — which led to clashes. This tragedy shed light on two grave hindrances in the judicial and policing systems that aim to protect and safeguard the lives and rights of its citizens. First is the law of Collective Punishment under the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) which was introduced by our colonial overlords in 1872 to control the tribes in FATA. The FCR inspired from the local tribal jirga system, appoints a ‘political agent’ who passes any and all judgements; even the right of holding an entire village or agency responsible for the crimes committed by a few. Instead being an effective tool of conflict resolution, this and other laws like it deprive the citizens of FATA of the constitutional rights granted to every other Pakistani. Furthermore, it highlighted the need to give on-ground personnel across security outfits sensitivity training to deal with civilian populations. This way protests can be viewed as the democratic right of every citizen, an indicator of the prevalent freedom of speech and expression rather than a national security threat. Moreover, when the question of civilian lives is at stake — then mistakes or pre-emptive behaviour cannot hold priority. This is also evident in the accidental killing of Bilal Khan, a seventeen-year-old who was caught in crossfire during a police raid in Karachi on Saturday. The most disheartening element however, was the media black-out of the sit-in protest that took place in Miran Shah in the aftermath of the shooting. While social media was rampant with indignation over the atrocities; major news channels and newspapers remained silent on the matter. The fourth estate must be allowed to provide fair and unhindered information regarding the happenings in the country, no matter which deprived, isolated corner of the state the news comes from. On a positive note however, we see the newly elected MNA Mohsin Dawar playing an active role in the mobilisation and representation of his people, not only in person or on social media — but in the National Assembly. Similarly we must commend the Pakistan Army for assuming responsibility and initiating an investigation into the incident. Moreover, General Mumtaz Hussain visited the injured at Miran Shah Hospital and announced financial compensation for the injured as well as the deceased. While this tragedy left many disgruntled, the subsequent efforts by the politico-military outfits provide a glimmer of hope. * Published in Daily Times, August 27th 2018.