The FATA merger bill, passed by the Parliament last week, is a historic legislation in the legacy of our country. The legislation will undo 120 years of the brutal Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR), which prevented the people of FATA from the basic rights of appeal, legal representation and to present evidence. However, it seems that some political factions are not happy with the merger of FATA into KPK and will go to lengths to prevent it.

JUI-F had already voiced its opposition to the historic legislation during the National Assembly, when JUI-F members staged a walk-out during the passing of the bill, however they lacked the numbers, and the bill was passed nevertheless. Now the party has decided to adopt undemocratic and illegal ways to prevent the merger, as party workers attempted to prevent the KP Assembly from gathering for its session by threatening to put padlocks on the assembly gates so that no one could make it inside the premises for the session.

Article 239(4) of the Constitution stipulates that a constitution amendment altering the limits of a province needs to be passed the provincial assembly of that province; thus, although the parliament has passed the FATA merger, the bill cannot be presented to the President for assent without approval of the KP Assembly. Thus, the JUI-F attempting to delay the gathering of the KP Assembly, which is set to dissolve tomorrow, will effectively delay the long-awaited legislation till the next representatives, a move that could seriously damage development within FATA.

JUI-F, thus, needs to be highly condemned for its distasteful and illegal tactics. Not only is it vainly trying to hold back a historic piece of legislation, it is trying to do so by physically restraining lawmakers, an undemocratic and futile move if there ever was one.