Senate approves bill to extend superior judiciary’s jurisdiction to Fata

PESHAWAR: In a landmark development, the Senate on Friday approved the bill to extend the jurisdiction of the superior judiciary to Fata.

Federal Minister for Law Mehmood Bashir Virk presented the bill in the Upper House of the Parliament. The bill was already approved by the National Assembly. Now after sailing through the Senate, the bill will become a law after signature of the President of Pakistan.

As expected, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) opposed the bill and staged a token walk-out from the House.

Parliamentary leaders of different parties termed the approval of the bill a historic achievement for the people of Fata and said it will prove a milestone in mainstreaming of the tribal areas. They said the tribal people will get their rights after passage of the bill by gaining access to the Peshawar High Court and the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The Fata people earlier did not enjoy this basic right.

The Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani congratulated the House on approval of the bill. He said everyone has a right to have an opinion. However, he said, the Parliament will continue to work for protecting people’s rights. He made it clear that the Parliament was fully autonomous and there is no external pressure on it.

Opposition Leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman also congratulated all the parties, including the ruling party, over approval of the bill and said it is a historic achievement.

She said the bill needs further improvement, adding that the PPP will cooperate with all the parties in this regard. She said the PPP has given a lot of sacrifices for democracy. She also insisted that the legislature is fully autonomous and works independently.

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