PESHAWAR - In order to endorse and pass the 31st Constitutional Amendment Bill, also known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas Reforms Bill 2018, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly will meet today (Sunday) amid threats of storming the session by JUI-F, the lone party in the provincial assembly which is opposing the merger.

It will be a historic day for the assembly as there is only one item on the agenda: to endorse and pass the much-awaited Fata Reforms Bill, which the National Assembly and Senate had recently passed.

The KP assembly is going to complete its five-year tenure on May 28 (tomorrow).

Summoned by KP Governor on the request of provincial government, the KP Assembly will meet at 2pm. Except JUI-F, which has 16 lawmakers in the house of 124, PTI, JI, QWP, ANP, PML-N and PPP have directed their MPAs to ensure participation, as the Fata Reforms Bill requires a two-third majority to get passed from the KP Assembly.

JUI-F is opposing the bill and also threatening to besiege the KP Assembly if the bill is moved for passage in the provincial assembly. The party has threatened to take the extreme step because according to it making tribal areas a part of the province is actually part of a foreign agenda, which is unacceptable to the party.

In this connection, the JUI-F had directed its workers from both KP and Fata to actively participate in an anti-Fata Reforms protest being staged outside the KP Assembly at 12 noon today (Sunday).

The JUI-F is demanding that Fata should either be made a separate province or be merged with KP through referendum. While pro-merger parties say that merger with the province is the only viable option to bring tribal areas into the mainstream.

As per Article 239(4) of the Constitution, the president cannot assent a constitutional amendment bill which affects geographical boundaries of a province without an approval by the assembly of that province.

Article 239(4) of the Constitution reads, “A bill to amend the Constitution which would have the effect of altering the limits of a province shall not be presented to the president for assent unless it has been passed by the provincial assembly of that province by the votes of not less than two-thirds of its total membership.”

If the bill does not get through the KP Assembly, then the fate of KP-Fata merger would be in the hands of new representatives to be elected in the upcoming general elections. Even after its passage from the National Assembly and the Senate, the president will have to wait to give his assent till the installation of the new assembly.

If the bill is passed from the KP Assembly today, it will be referred to President Mamnoon Hussain for his assent, which will make a way to bring the tribal belt comprising seven agencies and six frontier regions, to the mainstream and will be finally merged with KP.