Deadlock persists on FATA Reforms Bill

Zahid Chaudhary


Deadlock between the government and the opposition over FATA Reforms bill again marred National Assembly’s session Wednesday with the opposition sticking to its demand that it will not participate in the proceedings of the house unless the bill is introduced in the parliament.
Pakistan Peoples Party’s MNA Naveed Qamar remarked during Wednesday’s session that the Parliament was disrespected by taking out FATA Reforms Bill from the assembly agenda. However, NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq asked Naveed Qamar not to walk out but Qamar replied: “We will continue to stage walkouts till the FATA reforms bill is presented in the assembly.”
Qamar added it is the collective decision of the opposition to continue the protest and later staged a walk out from the house.
Weighing in on the matter, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed asked why the government is not presenting the bill.
“It is known across the world that Daesh is making its way into Afghanistan. It is also being said that Daesh is building their network in Pakistan,” he remarked, adding “why isn’t the government presenting the bill?”
“The parliament should not be insulted due to the actions of just two parties,” he said, referring to PML-N allies Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party which are opposing the merger of FATA with KP.
For the third day in a row, the session of the lower house was adjourned due to lack of quorum. When the session began, only 30 out members were present in the house: 16 from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), including SAFRON Minister Abdul Qadir Baloch and 14 members of the opposition.
The government has 188 members in the assembly, the number reaches 217 including political allies of the ruling party. On the other hand, the opposition comprises 114 members. However, the government fails to ensure quorum which has a negative impact on national treasury and parliamentary affairs of the country, according to the opposition members.
As the opposition was staging a walkout, MNA Afridi pointed lack of quorum in the assembly. The NA speaker then delayed the session for some time, but after it resumed the quorum was not met and the session was adjourned until 10:30am Thursday morning.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is expected to meet the parliamentary leaders on Friday to end the deadlock on FATA reforms bill as well as the constitutional amendment for delimitation of constituencies which still awaits passage from the Upper House.

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