Pending merger of the tribal areas with Khyber Pukhtoonkhwah (KPKK), a major demand of the people residing in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) has at last been met as jurisdiction of the superior courts has been extended to the tribal areas which is surely a positive step forward in the right direction. 

President Mamnoon Hussain has signed “Supreme Court and High Court (Extension of Jurisdiction to FATA) Bill 2017 on the recommendations of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. 

The bill extending jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Peshawar High Court to the FATA was first passed by the National Assembly sometime back and only on April 13 it also sailed through the upper house of the parliament, the Senate, despite opposition by the federal government, allies Maulana Fazlur Rahman and Mahmud Khan Achakzai from KPK and Balochistan respectively-merely on petty vested political interests not caring for the long outstanding aspirations and demands of the residents of the tribal areas. 

People of FATA have long been demanding, among others, extension of the superior courts jurisdiction so that they are also treated at par with the people of the rest of the country as equal Pakistanis. 

The incumbent ruling party, which is scheduled to step down on May 31 on completion of its stipulated five years’ constitutional tenure, will earn lot of goodwill if it brushes aside the so-called vested political petty objections of its allies’ parties and moves ahead by taking the requisite measures for merger of FATA with KPK as demanded by the residents of FATA-also recommended by Sartaj Aziz FATA Reforms Committee early last year. The merger may not be completed by May 31 but at least a good, most welcome and appreciable beginning can be made with lot of sincerity and good intention. 


Lahore, April 18.