Up to five million Pakistanis living on the Afghan border areas were officially given full rights as citizens this year, after being governed by British-era laws for nearly 150 years.
An overwhelming majority of the population in these border areas, known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) until May, are Pashtuns who live on the margins of the Pakistani society.
Instability and conflict in the region coupled with massive protests led to reforms this year, but decades of violence, discrimination and lack of development have negatively affected the area and displaced millions.
FATA’s unique geostrategic location on the border of Afghanistan along with its isolation from mainstream society has made it a breeding ground for foreign fighters since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.
Since then, shifting allegiances, the so-called “war on terror”, and proxy wars in Afghanistan have worsened conditions for the local people, who have been subjected to security crackdown and enforced disappearances by Pakistani forces.
Al Jazeera takes a look at the history of the area and tries to understand if the new reforms will bring peace.