PESHAWAR, 11 December: Despite announcement by Minister SAFRON Abdul Qadir Baloch and Fata Reforms Committee chairman Sartaj Aziz, the federal government failed to table the Fata reforms bill in the National Assembly on Monday dropping the bill off the agenda.
The opposition lawmakers as well as legislators from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas protested against the delay in the tabling of the reforms bill.
The bill pertaining to the abolition of the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) and extension of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Peshawar High Court to Fata was supposed to be tabled in the house on Monday.
The opposition lawmakers and the tribal MNAs stood on their chairs and protested against the omission of the Fata bill. They staged walkout from the house after which the proceedings were adjourned due to lack of quorum.
Registering their protest against the last-minute removal of the bill from the agenda items, the opposition parliamentarians chanted “go FCR go” and anti-government slogans. They also chanted slogans against JUI-F chief Maulana Fazal-ur-Rahman for allegedly masterminding the removal of the Fata reforms bill from the agenda.
Opposition leader Khursheed Shah asked the government to clarify why the bill had been removed from the agenda. The opposition and FATA parliamentarians encircled the speaker’s chair, started raising slogans and tore down the copies of the agenda.
In an attempt to pacify the angry lawmakers, Secretary Law and Parliamentary Affairs said that the bill was postponed as there were some technical errors that needed to be reviewed.
However, sources said that the bill was dropped off the agenda on the behest of JUI-F’s chief Fazal-ur-Rahman and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai.
Sources privy to the development said that Maulana Fazal-ur-Rahman called SAFRON Minister Abdul Qadir Baloch minutes before the start of the National Assembly session and asked how the bill could be tabled in the house without taking him into confidence. The Maulana has reportedly made it clear to the government that he would end alliance with the government if the Fata reforms bill was tabled in the parliament.
It is not for the first time that the federal government has postponed the FATA reforms bill.