Islamabad (April 13, 2018): The Senate today unanimously passed “The Supreme Court and High Court (Extension Jurisdiction to Federally Administered Tribal Areas) Bill, 2018.”
The Bill moved by Law Minister Mahmood Bashir Virk is aimed at extending jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the Peshawar High Court to FATA.
The extension of the superior courts’ jurisdiction is one of several demands of the people of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) who seek to be treated at par with the rest of the country.
The bill, part of the supplementary agenda of the Upper House of Parliament’s session today, was opposed by the government’s allies —Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl — who walked out of the session in protest.Later, the Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz managed to pass the bill.
Earlier, Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani headed the session comprising the entire house as a committee where Minister for States and Frontier Regions Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch gave a briefing on FATA reforms to the senators.
On January 12, the National Assembly had approved with a majority the same bill.
Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah had said this is a historic day, as the tribes people have rendered immense sacrifices. The lawmakers from FATA have been demanding the merger of the tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
In a meeting on December 26, 2017, the federal cabinet approved the formation of a high-level national implementation committee for FATA reforms.
“The meeting granted ex-post facto approval to the formation of National Implementation Committee on FATA Reforms. Minister for Defence and Commander 11 Corps have been included in the high-level implementation committee,” read a statement issued after the meeting.
The KP Assembly had adopted a resolution on December 14, 2016 in favour of merging FATA with KP with the aim of rehabilitating and reconstructing the infrastructure including roads, communications, power lines, water supply, education and health facilities.The recommendations to bring the tribal areas at par with the rest of the country were approved by the federal cabinet on March 2, 2017 but the matter has been delayed since then.
During today’s session, Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Khan Sanjranai also formed a special committee to look into the matter raised by Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah regarding acute water shortage in Sindh due to non-implementation of Water Accord 1991.
The committee was formed with the consent of the Leader of the House and Leader of the opposition.
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmed assured the House that no changes are being made in 18th Amendment of the constitution.He was responding to a calling attention notice moved by Mian Raza Rabbani and Sassui Palijo.
The Minister said the unanimously passed 18th amendment is a marvelous achievement of political parties for which Mian Raza Rabbani’s contribution is commendable.
Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani also admitted an adjournment motion moved by Dr Sikandar Mandhro to discuss the report that Pakistan will run out of forests within next 50 years if deforestation continues at the current rate.
The House has now been prorogued.