Saturday Jan 13, 2018
ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday felicitated the nation on the extension of the Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court's jurisdiction to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
"I congratulate the tribal nation on an era of its constitutional, legal, and democratic rights," Nawaz said in a statement.
The long-standing demand of FATA people to be brought within the ambit of Pakistan's constitution has finally been fulfilled, the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) president said, adding that a strong foundation of ending the deprivations of FATA residents has been laid.
"We will heal the wounds [of the FATA people]," said Nawaz. "People in FATA continued to be oppressed for seven decades, but Quaid-e-Azam's party received the honour to end this oppression."
The former premier paid tribute to all the political parties and stakeholders for the achievement of the restoration of rights of FATA residents.
"The development, prosperity, and security of Pakistan is [our] national duty," he said, adding that everyone will have to work together [for this].
"The biggest wish of my life is to witness the progress, development, and safety of the whole of Pakistan, from FATA to Karachi," Nawaz said.
"Injustice with people of any part of the country is unacceptable to Nawaz Sharif," he stressed.
The PML-N head further said that he had fulfilled all the promises he had made to the entire country, including FATA.
"The peace and satisfaction of my life is linked to the nation's progress and prosperity," he added.
The National Assembly on January 12 had approved a bill extending the jurisdiction of the Peshawar High Court and the Supreme Court to FATA. Newly-appointed law minister Mahmood Virk had presented the bill.
The bill was opposed by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F) Naeema Kishwar, who presented several amendments which were rejected by the House.
Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah had termed the day as 'historic'.
The lawmakers from FATA have been demanding the merger of the tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province. However, despite agreeing, the government has failed to bring the bill in Parliament as it is opposed by its allied parties: JUI-F and Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party.
In the last session of the National Assembly, the opposition had boycotted the House to protest the government’s failure to table the FATA Reforms Bill.
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.