KP Assembly approves landmark bill merging Fata with province

Published May 27, 2018
Protesters holding banners outside the KP Assembly. — DawnNewsTV
Protesters holding banners outside the KP Assembly. — DawnNewsTV
Trash and tires burning on the road leading up to the assembly. — DawnNewsTV
Trash and tires burning on the road leading up to the assembly. — DawnNewsTV

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly on Sunday approved the KP-Fata merger bill, paving way for the merger of the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (Fata) with the province.

The bill was passed with two-thirds majority — a Constitutional prerequisite for the proposed merger. As many as 92 lawmakers voted in favour while seven MPAs used their votes against the bill.

Following the provincial assembly’s approval, the landmark bill will bring the tribal borderlands, comprising seven agencies and six Frontier Regions, to the mainstream and they will be merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Tribal people will get representation in the KP Assembly through the amendment.

KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, while speaking in the assembly, asked the opponents of the bill to unite with those in favour. He said that the local bodies elections will be held in Fata this year, whereas the general elections will be held next year.

"During a meeting of the Fata Reforms Committee, Chief of Army Staff Gen Javed Qamar Bajwa had asked me to settle the issue of Fata once and for all," he told fellow lawmakers.

The chief minister made it clear that Shariah Nizam-e-Adl Regulation (SNAR) would not be touched under the bill.

Assembly in session

Speaker Asad Qaiser presided over the session which started late due to protests outside the assembly.

KP Law Minister Imtiaz Shahid tabled the bill seeking a merger of Fata with the province in the assembly amid ruckus as the lawmakers associated with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) as well as disgruntled PTI members chanted slogans to register their protests.

The JUI-F has been opposing the bill and demanding a referendum to seek assent of tribal people before Fata’s merger with KP.

Read: KP-Fata merger bill is another win for democracy

Earlier, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf lawmaker Baldev Kumar, who was acquitted by an anti-terrorism court in Buner in April in the 2016 murder of Soran Singh — took oath as member of the provincial assembly at the start of the session.

Salient features
Salient features

Even though the bill had been passed by both houses of the parliament, Article 239(4) of the Constitution says that the president cannot assent a constitutional amendment bill which affects geographical boundaries of a province without approval by the assembly of that province.

The session today — being held just a day before the assembly's dissolution on the completion of its five-year term — was thus convened only to give its approval to the historic bill that would erase the colonial-era division between tribal areas and the province.

Protest against merger

Party workers, including those from Fata, had gathered outside the KP assembly since early morning and had threatened to put padlocks on the assembly gates so that no one could make it inside the premises for the session that was scheduled for 2pm.

After hours of negotiations and resorting to baton-charge, police had managed to control the workers and clear them from the entrance to the assembly building. The protest, however, is continuing outside, according to DawnNewsTV.

"We will not let the Fata merger bill be approved," the protesters had chanted as they started burning tires on the road leading to the assembly.

Police deployed at the assembly gate. — DawnNewsTV
Police deployed at the assembly gate. — DawnNewsTV

District administration and the police had persistently tried to convince the protesters to vacate the area in front of the main entrance and continue their protest outside the back gate of the assembly.

According to reports, the protesters pelted policemen and media vehicles with stones. Windows of a DawnNewsTV mobile were also broken. Police resorted to tear gas shelling and baton-charge to control the crowd.

Opinion

Digital finance
17 Jan 2021

Digital finance

Raast offers opportunities for inclusion, but is not without risk.
Broadsheetgate
Updated 17 Jan 2021

Broadsheetgate

The competence that has underlined NAB and its actions has cost us dearly now and even in 2008.
Debate on ordinances
17 Jan 2021

Debate on ordinances

The government’s line of thinking indicates a belief in the principle of brute majority.
America in decline?
Updated 16 Jan 2021

America in decline?

In spite of the ‘gates’ that rocked the US, democracy stood firm.

Editorial

Updated 17 Jan 2021

Foreign funding case

THE Election Commission of Pakistan has summoned both the PML-N and PPP on Monday in connection with the foreign...
17 Jan 2021

Vaccine procurement

ALL eyes are on the government as it pledges to roll out the Covid-19 vaccination programme to about 80m citizens by...
17 Jan 2021

Makli ‘renovation’

THERE are fears that the recently conducted ‘renovation’ work carried out at the Makli necropolis may rob the...
16 Jan 2021

Gas liberalisation

AFTER drawing much criticism from both consumers and the opposition over its mismanagement of the energy sector that...
16 Jan 2021

Osama Satti inquiry

THE findings of the judicial inquiry into the Jan 2 killing of 21-year-old Osama Satti in Islamabad merely confirms...
Updated 16 Jan 2021

British MP on IHK

DESPITE sustained efforts by New Delhi’s rulers to remove India-held Kashmir from the global discourse, people of...