ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly approved with a majority on Friday a bill extending the jurisdiction of the Peshawar High Court and the Supreme Court to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Newly-appointed law minister Mahmood Virk presented the bill.
The bill was opposed by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F)Naeema Kishwar, who presented several amendments which were rejected by the House.
Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah said this is a historic day, as the tribespeople have rendered immense sacrifices.
The lawmakers from FATA have been demanding the merger of the tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. However, despite agreement, the government has failed to bring the bill in Parliament as it is opposed by its allied parties: JUI-F and Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party.
Opposition walks out as FATA Reforms impasse persists in NA
In the last session of the National Assembly, the opposition had boycotted the House to protest the government’s failure to table the FATA Reforms Bill.
In a meeting on December 26, 2017, the federal cabinet approved the formation of a high-level national implementation committee for FATA reforms.
“The meeting granted ex-post facto approval to the formation of National Implementation Committee on FATA Reforms. Minister for Defence and Commander 11 Corps have been included in the high-level implementation committee,” read a statement issued after the meeting.
Cabinet approves formation of implementation committee for FATA reforms
The KP Assembly had adopted a resolution on December 14, 2016 in favour of merging FATA with KP with the aim of rehabilitating and reconstructing the infrastructure including roads, communications, power lines, water supply, education and health facilities.
The recommendations to bring the tribal areas at par with the rest of the country were approved by the federal cabinet on March 2, 2017 but the matter has been delayed since then.