Senate passes Constitution Amendment Bill paving way for merger of FATA with KP

Senate passes Constitution Amendment Bill paving way for merger of FATA with KP

ISLAMABAD: Senate on Friday passed "The Constitution Amendment Bill, 2018" with two thirds majority, paving the way for merger of FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

It was moved by Law Minister Chaudhry Mahmood Bashir Virk.

Seventy-one members voted in favour of the amendment while five against it.

The Constitution Amendment was passed by the National Assembly with two thirds majority yesterday.

In his remarks on the occasion, the Chair congratulated the tribal people over the passage of the Bill, saying it will bring them to the national mainstream.

According to the amendment, the number of seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly will increase to 145 from 124.

FATA will be granted sixteen general seats, four seats for women and one seat for non-Muslims in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.  Elections to these seats shall be held within one year after the general elections 2018.

The amendment reduces the number of seats in the National Assembly from three hundred forty-two to three hundred and thirty-six. The members of the National Assembly from FATA to be elected in 2018 election shall continue till dissolution of the Lower House.

According to the constitution amendment, the number of seats of Senate has been reduced to ninety-six from one hundred and four.  The existing members of the Senate from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas shall continue till expiry of their respective terms of office.

The constitution amendment also envisages amendments in article 246 and repeals article 247 which place the tribal areas under the command and control of President.

Leader of the Opposition Sherry Rehman described the constitution amendment on FATA’s merger as a historic step in the country’s history. 

Rising on a point of order in the Senate, she voiced concern over construction of Kishanganga dam by India in occupied Kashmir.

She said India is building controversial dams in the disputed territory in violation of Indus Water Treaty. She said the World Bank should play its role on the matter.

Mian Raza Rabbani of Pakistan Peoples Party said India is engaged in incessant unprovoked firing on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, which are resulting in martyrdom of both civilians and security personnel. He said India has also unleashed a wave of terror in occupied Kashmir.

Minister for Climate Change Mushahidullah said the amendment recognizes the tribal people as equal citizens of Pakistan.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmad said it is heartening to note that the political parties are demonstrating greater maturity and over the last five years they addressed the national issues with consensus and unity.

Chaudhary Sarwar said the merger is a step in the right direction that will further strengthen Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan.

Kabeer Shahi appreciated the magnanimity shown by the treasury and opposition benches for the passage of the historic FATA-KPK merger constitution amendment bill.

Ateeq Sheikh said the merger has been done after consultations with the tribal people but stressed that the promises made with them are also materialized.  He said the efforts put in by the armed forces for restoring peace in tribal areas and their reconstruction should also be acknowledged.

Mushtaq Ahmad described the passage of amendment the triumph of parliament and democracy. He said it is a historic day for the tribal people as the constitution amendment has done away with the black law of FCR and the political agents.

Others who welcomed and appreciated the initiative included Behramand Tangi ,Muhammad Akram ,Mirza Khan Afridi, Sajjad Toori, Mohsin Aziz, Anwarul Haq Kakar , Rehman Malik, Faisal Javed, Rana Maqbool, Rukhsana Zuberi, They said that natural resources of tribal areas should be exploited and such development activities carried out there which bring visible change in the lives of the local people.

The house has now been prorogued. APP