ISLAMABAD  - The Senate on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution calling upon the government to extend the jurisdiction of Supreme Court and high courts to tribal areas to protect the fundamental rights of its people before the House severely condemned the killing of two Sikhs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The resolution moved by Senator Farhatullah on a private members’ day was adopted after the house rejected the government move to refer it to a committee instead of adopting it straightaway. The resolution also asked the government to amend Article 247 of the Constitution suitably so as to enable the Parliament to enact legislation for Fata.

Pressing for the adoption of the resolution, Farhatullah said that under Article Article-1-A(c) of the Constitution the tribal areas were a territory of Pakistan and, therefore, its people are entitled to the same fundamental rights as enjoyed by the people of other areas under the Constitution.

However, Article 247 (7) which ousted the jurisdiction of the SC and the High Court from Fata acted as a grave impediment in the way of the tribal people seeking fundamental rights and, therefore, it needed to be done away with, he added.

He said that the Peshawar High Court (PHC) in its judgment in April last had also advised the Parliament through federal government to make suitable amendments in Article 247 (7) so that the tribal people could invoke court jurisdiction in case of infringement of their fundamental rights.

Leader of the House in the Senate Raja Zafar ul Haq wanted that the resolution should not be passed straightaway and should be referred to the committee concerned. “This proposal should be a part of the overall package of Fata reforms,” he said.

Federal Minister Zahid Hamid also argued that the resolution should be sent to the committee and said, “Either a constitutional amendment is needed or a new law could be brought as a part of a broader package for Fata.”

The House from both sides of the isle strongly condemned the killing of two persons of Sikh community in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa recently terming it a barbaric act and the government should provide security to the minorities.

“We are feeling insecure today and the government should provide security to Sikhs and Hindus,” said Senator Hamen Das. He sought a ruling from the chair for the formation of a Special committee on minorities.

State Minister for Interior Baleegur Rehman said that these two separate incidents took place, one on September 4 and the other on September 6 during last month, and the federal government had sought report from the KP government.

“The KP government has informed that investigations are under way, however, no arrest has been made till yet,” he said and condemned the incident.

The House also passed a unanimous resolution condemning the terrorist attack on JUI-F chief Moulana Fazlur Rehman in Quetta and asked the federal as well as provincial governments to hold investigation into the incident, provide security to the JUI-F chief and compensate the victims.

The Senate also through a motion amended its rules for the formation of the first parliamentary think tank with the name of Senate Forum For Policy Research (SFPR) that will study questions of public importance, advise as well as assist the Senate, its committees as well as members and provide input on policy issues.

Through the motion jointly moved by Raja Zafar ul Haq, Mian Raza Rabbani and Mushahid Hussain Syed, eight new rules (rules 269 to 276) have been inserted in the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate 2012 that will provide for the composition of the forum, tenure of its members and functions of the think tank.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said that the think tank would work as a bridge between the existing members of the House and the previous ones “This will bring new ideas, improve coordination with the National Assembly and our performance will improve,” he added.

The House referred a resolution asking the government to fix consultation fee of private doctors in ICT after the Health Minister Saira Afzal Tarar said that the fee was regularized in some countries but not fixed.

The House unanimously passed a resolution recommending the government to take effective steps to promote Islamic Banking System in the country.

Federal Minister Zahid Hamid on behalf of Finance Minister supported the resolution and said that 22 Islamic banking institutions were working in the country and 1300 branched of Islamic banking of scheduled banks or Islamic banking institutions were operating there.

Raza Rabbani also moved a motion in the house for the formation of a committee to examine the impact of the privatisation policy of the previous governments from 1973 to 2013. The Chairman Senate will constitute the committee in consultation with the Leader of the House and Leader of the Opposition.

Two lawmakers, one from treasury benches and other from opposition benches also put a question mark on the performance of the government and its ministers and said that their purpose to support the government during the sit-ins did not mean at all that they would endorse every step of the government, JIU-F lawmaker Haji Ghulam Ali said.

He added that the PML-N government’s ministers had no ability to carry out their official duties and should be replaced.