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ISLAMABAD: The opposition members belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) are set to move an adjournment motion in the Senate today (Monday), seeking a debate on the government’s move to delay the much-awaited Fata reforms when the upper house of parliament will meet after a two-day recess.

The PTI members through the motion have sought adjournment of the normal business of the house to seek discussion on the “failure of the government to table Fata reforms which is against the aspiration of the people of Fata”.

The motion has been submitted by Azam Khan Swati, Syed Shibli Faraz, retired Brig John Kenneth Williams, Samina Abid, Liaqat Khan Tarakai, Nauman Wazir Khattak and Mohsin Aziz and the Senate Secretariat has placed it on the agenda for Monday’s session.

Party’s motion says govt’s failure to table bill is against the aspirations of tribal people

If Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani declares the adjournment motion admissible under the rules, then the house will have a fully-fledged debate on the matter that created rumpus in the National Assembly last month due to noisy protests of the opposition members and legislators from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) against the government’s last-minute move to delay the reforms after two government allies — the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam and Pakhtun­khwa Milli Awami Party — fiercely opposed the process.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PkMAP president Mehmood Khan Achakzai are opposed to the planned merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The government had tabled the required draft laws in the National Assembly session that had been convened by it especially last month to carry out Fata reforms in line with the recommendations of a committee headed by Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and already approved by the federal cabinet.

However, after a strong opposition by the JUI-F and the PkMAP, the prime minister who was on an official visit to China at that time directed the government to put on hold the reforms till his return to the country.

The prime minister had reportedly issued the directive after receiving a telephone call from JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

Fata MNAs, particularly Shah Jee Gul Afridi and PML-N’s Shahabuddin Khan, also joined the opposition ranks in criticising the government for delaying the Fata reforms only to appease its allies. Shahabuddin Khan lashed at the JUI-F and alleged that it wanted to make the tribal region “a state within the state”.

Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions retired Lt Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch, however, rejected the allegations that the government was backtracking from its commitments on Fata reforms and delaying the process to appease its allies.

The federal cabinet in its meeting on March 2 had approved a set of steps to be taken for proposed merger of Fata with KP and a 10-year reform package to bring the tribal region on a par with other developing areas of the country. Over Rs110 billion development package, proposed by a six-member Fata reforms committee, was approved for the seven agencies of the tribal region.

Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2017