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Tuesday May 15 2018

Govt to get 30th Amendment approved before NA term ends: sources

The 30th Amendment of the Constitution seeks to integrate FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. — National Assembly FILE image

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to get the proposed 30th Amendment of the Constitution approved before the incumbent National Assembly completes its term, sources told Geo News Tuesday.

The amendment would serve as a means to merge the country's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, according to sources. National Assembly's Standing Committee for Law and Justice would approve the proposed amendment on Wednesday.

After approval from the committee for law and justice, sources said, the government will present the bill for the 30th amendment in the parliament on Friday.

Chief of Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rahman and Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) head Mahmood Khan Achakzai — the two allies of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government in the centre — remain angered over FATA's integration, sources said.

The government, however, has opposition's backing for approval of the bill, they added.

In April, President Mamnoon Hussain signed the 'Supreme Court and High Court (Extension of Jurisdiction to Fata) Bill 2017' extending the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

The extension of the superior courts' jurisdiction was one of several demands of the people of FATA, who seek to be treated at par with the rest of the country.

Prior to that, the Senate adopted the bill months after its passage from the National Assembly of Pakistan.

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.

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 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 had since been delayed.

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