President Mamnoon Hussain. - A file photo

PESHAWAR: In a landmark achievement for the Fata people, President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain on Tuesday signed the bill for extension of jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Peshawar High Court (PHC) to Fata.

After signature of the president on the ‘Supreme Court and High Court (Extension of Jurisdiction to Fata) Bill 2017’, the bill has become a law of the country.

On Friday, 13 April, the Senate had approved the bill with the support of all the parliamentary parties except the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) that opposed the bill and staged a token walk-out from the House. Earlier, the National Assembly passed the bill with majority on 12 January.

The approval of the bill by the National Assembly and Senate and finally by the President of Pakistan only became possible after years’ long efforts of the Fata lawmakers, student bodies, tribal jirgas and all the political parties. Only two parties i.e. the JUI-F and PkMAP were opposing this bill.

Although the bill remained pending in the Senate for some time, but it was ultimately taken up after the Fata Youth Jirga and other tribal delegations called on the Senate chairman, opposition leader, PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari and other leaders and persuaded them to take up the bill in the Upper House as it is the aspiration of overwhelming majority of people of tribal areas. Four days ago, the bill was horridly included in the Senate agenda and passed without the support of the JUI-F and PkMAP.

The new law will give access to the people of the tribal areas to the PHC and the apex court of the country which was previously denied to them.