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February 8, 2017

Fata MNAs demand reforms by March 12

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February 8, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Members of National Assembly (NA) from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) on Tuesday gave the government deadline of March 12 on the floor of the House to take up ‘Report on Fata Reforms’ on agenda of the federal cabinet.

Speaking on a point of order, Shah Jee Gul Afridi from Fata criticised the government for dropping the ‘Fata reforms’ from agenda of Monday’s federal cabinet meeting, saying the government should not drive them to extreme steps like revolt.  He said the people of tribal areas would march towards Islamabad if their demands are not met by March 12. “The Fata people will not do any work in this building,” the angry parliamentarian from Fata maintained.

He said the people of Fata have given many sacrifices for the sake of Pakistan but now they were disillusioned as reforms are denied to them.  Shahabuddin, another member from Fata who was elected on the PML-N ticket, found a novel way of registering protest. He arrived in the House while shutting his mouth with black ribbon and wearing another ribbon on his shoulder.

The PML-N parliamentarians tried to convince Shahabuddin to give up the protest but he continued thumping desk without uttering a single word.  Sahibzada Tariqullah of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao also asked the government to give importance to the issue of Fata reforms.

They said it seemed that the government was under pressure for not discussing the Fata reforms. Tariqullah said the report on the Fata reforms was the most important of all the reports so far laid in the current session of NA. “We are ready to extend support to the prime minister if he is under pressure on this issue,” the JI member said.  Veteran  politician Mehmood Khan Achakzai called for resolving the issue amicably.

Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar wanted to speak on the concerns of opposition with regard to Fata, but the session had to be prorogued for lack of quorum when pointed out by PTI member Junaid Akbar and PPP member Abdus Sattar Bachani. The minister criticised raising the quorum issue when he was about take the floor.

Speaking on a point of order, Aisha Gulalai of PTI said the people of Kashmir enjoy the right under the UN resolution to decide about their future. They may join Pakistan or India or live independently. “It should not be said that Kashmir is an integral part of any country,” she said.

Through a resolution moved by Sher Akbar Khan, the NA urged step to simplify the procedure of payment of pension. Speaking on the resolution, Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan told the House that a simplified form has been introduced in March last to facilitate the pensioners. 

He said the pensioners can make a choice of bank or National Savings Centre account for transfer of their pension. He said a proposal by the members for disbursement of pension through EasyPaisa system will be considered adding the government is trying to further facilitate pensioners.

Responding to a calling attention notice moved by Shaikh Salahuddin and others regarding approval granted by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to Karachi Electric (KE) to increase price of electricity 25 paisa per unit and overcharging of Rs62 billion from consumers, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Chaudhary Jaffar Iqbal told the House that Nepra has not given approval to KE for overcharging. He said a petition is also being heard in this regard and hoped that consumers would get relief on account of fuel adjustment. To another calling attention notice moved by Shaista Pervaiz and Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan told the House that the census is being conducted as per best international practices and it would be a long exercise beginning next month. He pointed out that two forms that are Form-2 and Form-2(A) have been prepared. He said Form-2 will be used in main census exercise while information about disabilities will be collected in Form-2(A) in the second phase by sampling.


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