Boycott over Fata mars NA session for 2nd day

ISLAMABAD – Opposition and Fata lawmakers boycotted the National Assembly session for the second consecutive day on Tuesday after the government failed to present the bill on Fata reforms.

Opposition lawmakers, discontented with treasury benches’ response over the bill, accused the government of creating the ‘East Pakistan-like situation’ in the country.

In a failed attempt to calm down the opposition, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sheikh Aftab told the House that the prime minister has invited leaders of parliamentary parties for Friday to discuss the issue. However, opposition parties boycotted the proceedings in protest for dropping the bill from the agenda.

Opposition Leader in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah strongly criticised government for damaging the image of parliament.

“These steps will damage the sanctity of parliament,” he said, expressing the hope that government would resolve the issue amicably tomorrow (Wednesday).

He also raised his concerns over the thin attendance of treasury lawmakers.

Talking about the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Shah said, “The path preferred by Donald Trump may lead to terrorism”.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf lawmaker Asad Umar said the government was conspiring against the democratic setup.

“Why the government has still not informed the parliament about the Khatam-e-Nabuwat issue,” he said, as he also demanded a proper government response over Fata reforms. He later left the House along with his party members in protest.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmaker Sheikh Salahuddin slated government for ‘not taking’ important matters seriously. He said the government should seriously raise the Jerusalem issue at all international forums.

“The Muslim Ummah should show unity. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation should also play a role in this regard,” he said.

Jamaat-e-Islami lawmaker Tariq Ullha said government should not create East Pakistan-like situation in the country. “Why the government is not serious in resolving the issue of Fata,” he asked, adding that his party would continue its street protest for Fata reforms.

The opposition parties left the House, leaving one of their members behind to point out quorum issue to suspend the proceedings. PTI’s Hamid Ul-Haq, before pointing out the lack of quorum, said it was pathetic that almost every day treasury benches face embarrassment on this count.

The proceedings were adjourned as no more than 30 legislators from treasury benches were present in the House. The proceedings continued not more than 40 minutes.

Imran’s warning

PTI chief Imran Khan has the government’s non-serious approach to the Fata reforms was an insult to the people of the troubled tribal regions who have sacrificed so much but have not been given their full democratic rights.

In a statement on his Twitter account, he said delay in implementing the complete reforms package is causing unrest in Fata and will have serious repercussions.

He said his party demands government to immediately table in the National Assembly a full package of Fata reforms – including abolition of Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR), extension of Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court’s jurisdiction to the region, and amendment in Article 106 allowing for increase of seats in KP Assembly to accommodate Fata representatives.

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