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Govt to bring 30th constitutional amendment for Fata-KP merger

Govt to bring 30th constitutional amendment for Fata-KP merger
May 16, 2018

PESHAWAR: The federal government has decided in principle to bring 30th constitutional amendment bill in the National Assembly before the end of its tenure for merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

According to media reports, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice is likely to approve the proposed amendment today (Wednesday) after which the government will table the bill in the Lower House of the Parliament. The reports said the government will go ahead with the bill despite opposition from its allies — Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) — as it has the support of opposition parties for this purpose and there will be no difficulty in passage of the bill.

The JUI-F ameer Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PkMAP chairman Mahmood Khan Achakzai demand referendum in Fata before bringing reforms. On the other hand, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) want merger of Fata with KP.

It will be a major step by the government after extension of the Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court (PHC) jurisdiction to Fata. In April, President Mamnoon Hussain signed the Supreme Court and High Court (Extension of Jurisdiction to Fata) Bill 2017, extending the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court to Fata after its approval from the National Assembly and Senate.

The KP Assembly had passed a resolution on 14 December, 2016 for Fata-KP merger. The federal cabinet had also approved recommendations to bring the tribal areas at par with the rest of the country on 2 March, 2017, but the matter has been delayed since then.

The federal government recently held two rounds of talks with the parliamentary leaders for developing consensus on the issue of Fata-KP merger, but that meetings ended without progress due to opposition by the JUI-F and PkMAP.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had stated on floor of the National Assembly on 2 May that the Fata reforms process will be completed within a month. He had stated that local bodies polls in the tribal areas will also be held before October.

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