The leaders of the opposition and lawmakers from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) on Saturday met to discuss the Fata reforms bill.

The meeting was held in the speaker National Assembly's chamber, with Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Sherry Rehman, PTI's Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) chief Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, among others were in attendance.

The law secretary briefed the participants about the Fata merger bill, after which it was decided that the leaders would meet on the matter again on May 21.

"Some progress has been made on the Fata merger bill — it will be tabled within two to three days," Jamaat-i-Islami's Sahibzada Tariqullah told DawnNewsTV after the meeting.

The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), headed by Maulana Fazlur Rahman, and the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), headed by Mehmood Khan Achakzai, are the only two political parties that oppose the merger plan.

However, it is expected that with two major opposition parties — the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and PPP — supporting the merger of Fata with KP, there is a possibility that the bill will make it through the assembly.

Earlier this week, it was reported that the decision on the Fata merger bill will be passed on to the next government.

Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Abdul Qadir Baloch had told the National Assembly on Wednesday that the coming government would execute the merger of tribal areas with KP.

“No legislation is being made in this regard and the present status of Fata will remain intact,” he had added. However, informed sources had told Dawn that the federal cabinet, which met here on Thursday with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the chair, approved the placement of the Fata reforms bill before the National Assembly. The sources said the bill would come into effect one year after its passage.

The source had said at the time that the bill would be placed before the NA on Friday (yesterday) or soon after that.

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