FATA Reforms Bill: Uproar in NA over suspension ofproceedings
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Thursday suspended further proceedings on the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) Reforms Bill, leading to an uproar by the opposition benches.
The National Assembly resumed its session here on Thursday morning with Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq in the chair.
Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Shah criticised the government for delaying the FATA reforms package on the advice of one of government’s ally, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chef Fazalur Rehman. “I condemn the government for its move to stop the passage of the FATA Reforms Bill through its allies which it (government) wants to be approved and supported by the opposition parties,” he said.
Shah criticised the government for deliberately halting the bill. He alleged that the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) presented FATA Reforms Bill as a lollypop to the tribal people and then turned it down on its allies’ request.
He suggested that the bill should be brought in the assembly for voting. The FATA is a part of Pakistan and there is no other way but to merge it with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he added.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had reportedly directed his party lawmakers to delay proceedings over the FATA Reforms Package in the assembly till his return to Pakistan after a phone call with Fazalur Rehman.
The Prime Minister had suspended further proceedings over the FATA reforms and called Federal Minister Abdul Qadir Baloch to delay the proceedings on the amendment till his return.
Vice-Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Shah Mahmood Qureshi recalled that the recommendations of a commission on the FATA Reforms were approved by the cabinet and endorsed by opposition parties. He said that the merger of FATA with KPK is an important issue, adding that the suspension on further proceedings on the bill showed that the government did not complete its homework.
After the aggressive remarks delivered by Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party leader Mehmood Khan Achakzai, the house further heated up. Achakzai said that in historical perspective, the FATA was not a part of Pakistan and people of FATA should be given the right to decide their future. He termed any reform without consultation of tribal people undemocratic. He said no parliamentarian had knowledge about the history of the FATA.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi responded Achakzai while terming him anti-Pakistan and a self-centric person.
In his ruling, Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said that the bill has been under consideration of standing committee. He assured that the bill would be thoroughly debated in the assembly after passage from the committee.
Abdul Qadir Baloch assured the Lower House that the government is committed to the FATA reforms. He said the FATA Reforms Package comprising 36 points was formulated in consultation with all stakeholders and the government believes in the supremacy of the Parliament, that is why the Tribal Areas Rewaj Act was laid before the House the other day.
He said mainstreaming of tribal areas and abolition of FCR are main points of the package. He rejected all rumours that he was directed to suspend the proceedings on the FATA Reforms Bill.
The National Assembly also adopted an adjournment motion for discussion on recent incidents of unprovoked firing by Afghan forces on Pakistani villages in Chaman. The motion was moved by Syed Naveed Qamar and others.
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