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Court’s jurisdiction to Fata Bilawal flays delay

By Our Correspondent
March 05, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Sunday said that delay in extending the jurisdiction of superior judiciary to the tribal areas amounts to denying its people their fundamental rights. "Any further delay is criminal and not acceptable. The bill recently passed by the National Assembly and sent to the Senate contained some serious anomalies which need to be rectified in the Upper House," he said while talking to a group of women party activists from different tribal agencies who called on him at Zardari House here. The eight-member delegation led by Dr Saima, president Fata women chapter of the party, included office bearers from almost all tribal agencies. The PPP president for Fata chapter Akhunzada Chattan was also present at the meeting. Bilawal said the jurisdiction of Peshawar High Court (PHC) and the Supreme Court should be extended to tribal areas in one go and not in piecemeal and without requiring any notification by bureaucracy. He said that initially the superior courts also had no jurisdiction over the provincially administered tribal areas (Pata) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. However, he said that in 1973 this jurisdiction was extended though an act of the Parliament immediately without requiring any government notification. "The people of tribal areas have waited for 70 long years to get access to justice and fundamental rights and they must not be kept deprived on various pretexts," Bilawal said. He rejected the objections of some political parties against extending the jurisdiction of superior courts to FATA. "Article 175(2) and 247(7) both provide that legislation could be made by Parliament for extending jurisdiction of superior courts to tribal areas," he said. Bilawal said the PPP had extended the Political Parties Act to Fata opening doors for all political parties to engage its people in alternate political narratives. He said the party had also opened the door for reforms in the draconian Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) and

it was now time to undo the FCR and extend normal laws of Pakistan to the tribal areas. "If coercive laws are extended to tribal areas through a presidential regulation why can't the progressive laws also be extended to these areas to protect the fundamental rights of its people," he asked. The PPP chairman advised the tribal women delegation to reach out to women in their respective tribal agencies and present the party’s narrative on various political and social issues.

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