NA unites to pass amendment for Fata rights

ISLAMABAD  –   The national assembly, in a rare show of unity, will unanimously pass the constitutional amendment on Monday (May 13) with the aim to increase the number of seats for erstwhile Fata in the national and KPK assemblies.

The passage of ‘The constitution amendment bill, 2019’ will help remove the sense of deprivation of the people of these tribal areas, which have now been assimilated into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provice.

In Friday’s assembly session, the members from treasury and opposition expressed their unanimity on giving due rights to people of former Fata areas by passing the said amendment.

The lawmakers from both sides of aisle, in a debate on pros and cons of the constitutional amendment, put weight behind increasing the number of seats for erstwhile Fata in the national assembly and KP assemblies.

The mover of the bill, MNA Mohsin Dawar who hails from North Waziristan  area, through the bill sought amendment in Articles 51 and 106 of the Constitution. The statement of objects  and reasons of the bill read “under the constitution, the state is responsible to protect the rights of all its citizens and to give them due representation in all walks of life”.

“In order to ensure proper representation of the areas of erstwhile Fata, it is necessary that the number of general seats of the national assembly allocated for those areas should remain the same… The seats allotted in the provincial assembly of KPK for erstwhile Fata are proposed to be increased to (24 from 16 to) give adequate representation to the said area(s)”.

Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak, taking part in debate, said Fata is rich in natural resources and its merger with KP will definitely help improve the lives of the people. “It was a buffer zone between Pakistan and Afghanistan and people of the area protected borders of the country as they always had affiliation with Pakistan,” he said.

Khattack, who was chief minister of KP in PTI’s last tenure of government in the province, informed that the tribal areas would get funds of Rs1,000 billion over 10 years after allocation of share through the National Finance Commission (NFC).

He was hopeful that the basic issues related to water, electricity, schools, colleges, universities and roads would be resolved. “Local bodies system would be introduced in September-October this year in the tribal areas,” he said, mentioning that 30 percent of the funds every year would be spent through the local elected representatives.

Taking part in debate, PML-N’s newly nominated Parliamentary Leader Khwaja Muhammad Asif  said that two dictators in their eras dragged Pakistan into wars to prolong their rule and serve their personal interests.

“There is need of interim arrangement in this area till next population census,” he said, mentioning that the people of the area should be compensated for their sufferings. “Through this legislation, we (lawmakers) are not giving any favour to the people o of the area but it is their right,” he said.

About Afghan Jihad, he was of the view that it was so-called Jihad as a result of which the tribal areas faced difficulties during the last four decades and were ravaged by war, terrorism and chaos.

“In the decade of 1980s, Pakistan was affected due to proxy wars of super powers and wars across the border in Afghanistan,” he said mentioning that these wars also badly affected Karachi, Lahore, Swat, Waziristan Gilgit and other areas.

MNA Sajid Hussain Turi, who belongs to Fata area, thanked all the parliamentary parties for showing unity to pass the amendment for providing relief to the people of their areas. “We are hopeful that the promises made during the merger of Fata will be fulfilled, he said.

Three other MNAs from the tribal areas, Ali Wazir, Jamaluddin and Sajid Mohmand, welcoming the support of the political parties remarked that the new legislation would prove beneficial for the people of Fata areas.


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