FATA merged with KP; NA gives consent


ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Thursday voted to approve an amendment bill seeking merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The bill was approved by two third majority as 229 members favored it while 29 lawmakers chose to oppose. The 31st amendment bill was tabled by law minister Bashir Virk during the National Assembly session which was also attended by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan.
Government allies Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Mehmood Khan Achakzai were not present in the house as their parties continued their opposition to the bill. Commenting on lack of adequate members in the house, the prime minister took the floor and said the bill belongs to all the parties. Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah said the PPP was ready to wait for the members to come.
Under the FATA reforms bill, the number of National Assembly seats (12) and Senate seats (8) will remain unchanged while elections for the Provincial Assembly seats allocated for FATA would be held next year. According to the bill, the powers that president and the governor had in FATA would no longer be effective while it would also abolish the FCR.
FATA would also acquire additional Rs100 billion beside Rs24 billion under the National Finance Commission. FATA would also get a special fund of Rs1000 billion. The jurisdiction of Supreme Court and the Peshawar High Court would be extended to FATA. The areas would also be granted exemption from tax for five years.