Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

NA passes bill to extend apex court, High Court jurisdiction to FATA

First key step taken towards Fata mainstreaming Nawaz felicitates tribals on extension of SC, PHC jurisdiction to FATA
Bennie Garza | 14 January, 2018, 02:22

The National Assembly (NA) on Friday passed a bill extending the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court (SC) and the Peshawar High Court (PHC) to Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), one of a handful of reforms paving the way for a merger of the tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

JUI-F lawmaker Naeema Kishwar, before moving a list of amendments, made a failed attempt to disrupt the proceedings of the House by pointing out the quorum but the required strength was present in the House. She protested that the bill was not mentioned in the order of the day, as it was included through supplementary agenda. In fact the incumbent government won the hearts of the tribal people by getting it passed with the support of the opposition when it did not take into account the reservations of its ally JUI (F) whose lawmakers till the last moment did their best to again bulldoze the bill. The bill for merger of Fata with the KP still hangs in the balance due to opposition from the JUI-F and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP).

Ministerfor SAFRON Adbul Qadir Baloch said that credit goes to PML-N government forpassing this bill as per aspirations of people from FATA. That was why a referendum should be held to ascertain the prevalent opinion in the tribal areas. Whilst the beginning has made which will see freeing the tribal people from the evil and black clutches of FCR, it is not time to be complacent but gear up efforts towards the fast paced development of the tribal areas as promised in the FATA reforms package.

Both government and treasury members voted for the "The Supreme Court and High Court (Extension of Jurisdiction to Fata) Bill, 2017", which is step towards bringing Fata into the national mainstream.

He said that peace had yet to be restored in some areas of Fata and that many of its people were living in faraway areas. Shah G. Gul Afridi from Fata said the step towards Fata reforms would bring a positive change.

Jamaat-e-Islami's Sahibzda Tariqullah also lauded the government for passing the bill.

The proposed legislation aims at extending jurisdiction of the higher courts to tribal areas "for safeguarding their rights and ensuring them proper administration of justice in accordance with the Constitution".

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