A bill was introduced in the National Assembly on Friday for extending the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Islamabad High Court to the country’s tribal areas. Shortly after presenting the bill, which is part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas reforms, the fifth sitting of the ongoing session of the assembly was adjourned for the fourth consecutive day over lack of quorum.
The lack of quorum was pointed out by Mahmood Khan Achakzai, the chief of Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and an ally of the government. Currently, the 46th session of the lower house of the parliament is in progress and is likely to be prorogued on the 21st of this month.
When the bill was introduced, Achakzai said: “If the government wants to introduce this bill then I want to point out the [lack of] quorum.” The chair had to order a headcount of the lawmakers, leading to adjournment of the sitting till 3pm on Monday.
The treasury members seemed unhappy over the pointing out of the quorum and some of them were confused as to who had actually done so.
In fact, a few of them thought Dr Shireen Mazari of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had pointed it out. However, Dr Mazari responded: “Why are you blaming me for pointing out the quorum. It was your ally [Achakzai] who pointed it out. Vent out your anger at him if you want.”
The bill, titled ‘Extension of Jurisdictions to Federally Administered Tribal Areas Bill, 2017’, was moved in the house by Law Minister Zahid Hamid. The federal cabinet had cleared the bill for its introduction in the parliament during its meeting on Tuesday. The National Assembly met for an hour and five minutes and Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq presided over the sitting for over 40 minutes.