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

First key step taken towards Fata mainstreaming

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

Talking to media after the passage of the bill from the Lower House of the Parliament, which the JUI-F had opposed, Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that they were given assurance by the prime minister and the federal minister for SAFRON that the Fata reforms bill would not be tabled till the time consensus on it was evolved among the stakeholders.

The National Assembly on Friday approved bill seeking to extend the jurisdiction of Supreme Court (SC) and Peshawar High Court (PHC) to Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). She also staged a two-minute token walkout against the legislation. She protested that the bill was not mentioned in the order of the day, as it was included through supplementary agenda. 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).

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They termed the passing of the bill a landmark achievement of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government towards the provision of speedy and low-cost justice to the litigants and a major step towards the KP-FATA merger. Baloch said credit went to the government for abolition of the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) and extension of superior courts' jurisdiction to the tribal areas.

He said that Rewaj Act to replace the prevalent laws, provision of seats in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and the merger of those areas into the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa were the points, which would only be implemented after evolving consensus on it. Shah said the people of tribal areas had given numerous sacrifices and they should be rewarded by merging Fata with the KP province. Shah G. Gul Afridi from Fata said the step towards Fata reforms would bring a positive change.

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He said that PML-N has won the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of tribal people with the adaptation of this bill. "The bill being passed has truly completed Pakistan today", he said. The Jamaat-e-Islami asked the government to pass the bill by Jan 31 or it would stage a sit-in in front of the Parliament House.

The house also rejected Kishwer Khan's move to introduce three amendments, which aimed at making Islamabad High Court the court of jurisdiction for Fata.

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