ISLAMABAD - Parliamentarians from Federally Administered Tribal Areas yesterday filed in the National Assembly Secretariat a draft of proposed amendments in the Constitution for inclusion of the areas falling under the jurisdiction of Fata in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Parliamentary sources informed The Nation that all the eight senators and 11 MNAs had signed the document, but some of them actually did not want the merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; rather they wanted the areas to get the status of a separate province.

The mainstream political parties, directly related to these areas like Qaumi Watan Party, Awami National Party and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, supported the move as they want Fata to become part of the province or at least to have the status of semi-tribal areas on the pattern of Malakand Divison. In case of passage of the proposed amendments to the Constitution, Fata would be merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the people of these areas would be entitled to basic civil rights available to the people living in the rest of the country while with the removal of Article 247, jurisdiction of superior courts, including the high court and the Supreme Court, would be extended to these areas.

After the Fata merger with KP, the colonial era laws like Federal Crimes Regulations (FCR) would automatically cease to exist and the people of these areas would become at par with those living in rest of the country.

However, the parliamentary sources still saw many hurdles in the smooth sailing of these amendments from the Parliament because, despite signing the document, some parliamentarians from these areas are strongly averse to the idea of the Fata merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and want a separate province for the people living there.

On the hand, the ruling PML-N is also divided over the issue as some of the key party leaders from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan Abbasi, are opposing the move, an insider in the party revealed.

As the driving force behind the move of merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is Shahabuddin Khan, a PML-N MNA from Fata, it is generally believed that he is enjoying the backing and blessing of the party leadership and that the move will not be opposed when put to vote in the Parliament. The parliamentary sources further said though there was no serious opposition to the move from any parliamentary party or group, it would take a long time to get these amendments passed from both the houses of the Parliament.

As per the parliamentary procedure, these amendments would first be referred to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice for threadbare examination. After their fine-tuning, they would again come to the house for debate and voting. After being passed by the National Assembly, the bill would be sent to the Senate for passage. Only then the tribal areas would see merger with the provincial territory.