PPP to support Fata Bill in Senate, Zardari assures Youth Jirga

PESHAWAR: Former President of Pakistan and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has assured the Tribal Youth Jirga that his party will support the bill for extension of jurisdiction of superior courts to tribal areas in the Senate.

The 25-member Tribal Youth Jirga called on Asif Zardari at the Zardari House in Islamabad on Thursday. Renowned anchor Saleem Safi also accompanied the delegation.

The former president said although the bill to extend the jurisdiction of superior courts to tribal areas passed recently by the National Assembly fell far short of expectations, but the PPP will support it in the Senate to seize the opportunity and open the gateway for further improvements.

Mr Zardari said the PPP will also stand by the people of tribal areas in their struggle for merging Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and allocating share in the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award. He argued that all economic, linguistic and cultural indicators made it natural for the tribal areas to be merged with KP.

The PPP co-chairman said when the PPP comes into power in this year elections, it will move to improve the Fata Reforms Bill and will extend the jurisdiction of superior courts to all parts of Fata and with immediate effect.

Mr Zardari said that for mainstreaming Fata the legislative powers of the President of Pakistan in respect of Fata should also be transferred to the Parliament. He said the tribal people have been devastated due to militancy and it was time to put balm on their wounds.

He reminded that Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was the first to move a petition before the Supreme Court for the voting rights to the people of tribal areas. He said it was Benazir Bhutto who first constituted a special committee of the party on Fata. He said that for the first time in a century, the door to reforms in FCR was opened by the PPP during his presidency.

During the meeting, the PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto also called the former president on the phone from Karachi and emphasised taking forward Fata reforms project.

Former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, the PPP secretary general Nayyer Bokhari, spokesperson Aamir Fida Paracha, president PPP Fata chapter Akhunzada Chattan, president women wing Fata Dr Saima, political secretary Rukhsana Bangash and former senator Farhatullah Babar were also present in the meeting.

Mr Zardari’s statement came few days after Akhunzada Chattan said in an interview that the PPP cannot support the Fata Reforms Bill in the Senate in its existing form.

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