ISLAMABAD : President Mamnoon Hussain has signed the 25th constitutional amendment bill seeking the merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
After signing the bill, the president congratulated the people of FATA and KP.
The president is yet to sign the Constitution (Thiry-First) Amendment Bill, 2018 which will dissolve Article 247 of the Constitution. As per Article 247, the executive authority of the Federation shall extend to FATA and PATA (Provincially Administered Tribal Areas).
As soon as the president signs Constitution (Thiry-First) Amendment Bill, 2018, the control of FATA Interim Governance Regulation, 2018 would be handed over to the KP government.
On May 28, President Mamnoon Hussain on Monday signed the ‘FATA Interim Governance Regulation, 2018’.
Earlier, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly passed the KP-FATA merger bill after it being already approved from the upper and lower chambers of the Parliament.
The session held to vote for the bill was presided over by KP assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, where Chief Minister KP Pervaiz Khattak was also present. The vote count showed that 87 provincial lawmakers voted in favour of the bill while seven in opposition. At the beginning of the session, minority lawmaker Baldev Kumar took oath administered by speaker assembly. The House proceeded to discuss the bill, where Jamaat-e-Islami’s parliamentary leader Anayatullah addressed the assembly.
The JI lawmaker said that Malakand should be given an extensible tax amnesty for 10 years and rs100 billion annual development package should be given to KP similar as FATA.
CM KP Pervaiz Khattak also addressed the KP assembly, where he said that that people have been accusing him of taking bribe from caretaker CM. “Please don’t bring up allegations,” said Pervaiz Khattak, adding that those levelling blame should provide evidence as well.A resolution was approved in the assembly to exempt Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) from taxes for a time period of 10 years.
The resolution was presented by Dr Haider Ali in the House, which was signed by all the parliamentary leaders of the political parties except for the Jamiat Ulema-e-Fazl.
The resolution demanded a development package of Rs 100 billion for the PATA, same as the FATA region. It also demanded subsidy on electricity.Since the constitutional amendment would result in withdrawal of tax exemptions from the tribal areas, MPAs from PATA have shown concern over passage of the bill, the letter reads.
The concerns of MPAs from PATA could hinder the bill from getting the support of two-third of the majority in the provincial assembly.
Therefore, Qaiser had requested Sadiq to provide the sought exemptions on an urgent basis before voting starts on the amended bill in KP Assembly.On May 25, the Senate approved the constitutional amendment bill on the merger of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
During the session, 71 lawmakers voted in favour of nine clauses of the constitutional amendment bill while five were against them.
Besides, 28 lawmakers were absent from the House during the session.
The bill titled Thirty-First Amendment Act, 2018 was presented by Minister for Law and Justice Chaudhry Mahmood Bashir Virk, while the session is being headed by Senate Chairperson Sadiq Sanjrani.
After the approval from the Senate, President Mamnoon Hussain will sign it turning into a law.
On May 24, The National Assembly passed “Constitution (Thirty-First Amendment) Bill, 2018” with over two- thirds majority paving the way for the merger.Two hundred and twenty-nine members parliamentarians voted in favour of the constitution amendment while one voted against it. The bill was opposed by government-allied parties Jamiat-e-ulema-Islam (JUI-F) and Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP).
The amendment will bring an end to colonial-era laws governing the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), extending the writ of Pakistani courts to its districts and increasing development assistance to its residents.‘Bill passed with national consensus’
“Today this house had approved a historic bill, which will have very positive effects for Pakistan. I thank the opposition for their support,” Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told legislators after the vote.
“We need to provide (FATA residents) with all those facilities which are available to the people in the rest of Pakistan,” he added.
PM Abbasi also said that a committee worked for over two years and presented a report that had led to the constitution of the FATA implementation committee.“The committee report was assessed by civil and military leadership including the army chief,” he said, adding that the bill was approved with a consensus of the government and opposition members.
“I am thankful especially to Khursheed Shah, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and Farooq Sattar,” he said.