ISLAMABAD - The impasse persisted in the National Assembly over dropping the ‘FATA reforms bill’ from the agenda as the joint opposition continued the boycott of the session on Friday for the fifth consecutive day.

As the House resumed proceedings, the opposition came up with the same demand to include the ‘FATA reforms bill’ on the agenda and left the House after registering their protest.

National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq remarked that a meeting between the government and the opposition was needed to be arranged to resolve the issue.

Pakistan People’s Party lawmaker Naveed Qamar, taking the floor soon, came down hard on the government for allegedly deceiving the opposition on the FATA issue. “Why the government is giving lollypop to the opposition. There should be a courage to share the truth,” said Qamar.

Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid, on the same issue, made a mockery of the government for not giving importance to the FATA reform issue. He said some MNAs even reached the Prime Minister’s House on a signal of Minister for Safron Abdul Qadir Baloch that the FATA reforms issue was going to be discussed at the breakfast. “It was actually a meeting of senators at the PM House, so these MNAs had to return without having a breakfast,” he said sarcastically. 

The NA speaker, in a light tone, interrupted him and said perhaps these MNAs went there without having breakfast from their homes. “Please come to my chamber, I will serve the breakfast and the bill slip will be forwarded to minister Safron,” the speaker said. Rashid said that the government should resolve the FATA reforms issue as soon as possible to clear the uncertain situation.

FATA lawmaker Shah G Gul Afridi demanded that the government resolved the FATA issue once for all. “Only for two persons (Mehmood Achakzai and Maulana Fazlur Rahman) are main hurdles on this issue,” he said.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmaker Sheikh Salahuddin said the House could not dispose of several important agenda items due to the impasse over the FATA reforms issue. “It should be resolved now and the government should take serious notice of it,” he said suggested.

About the National Assembly speaker’s hint of the early dissolution of the National Assembly, he remarked ‘these qualms are an eye-opener’.

Jamaat-i-Islami lawmaker Sher Akbar said that the government should bring the FATA reforms bill in the House for legislation.”.

Pakistan Muslim League-F lawmaker Ghous Bux Mehar said that some people were trying to declare and portray FATA out of Pakistan’s territorial boundary. “Legislation on this issue will clear all these doubts,” he said.

PPP lawmaker Shagufta Jumana pointed out the lack of quorum soon after opposition members delivered speeches, and the House was suspended for half-an-hour till the completion of the quorum.

Nonetheless, the government could not muster the required strength (86 MNAs) when the count was made after the 30-minute break. The sitting ended without disposing of a single agenda item mainly due to the thin presence of lawmakers.