Tuesday July 16, 2024

NA to pass 26th amend bill on Monday

By Muhammad Anis
May 11, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly is likely to pass the Constitution (Amendment) Bill on Monday as the government and opposition reached a consensus on amendments in the Article 51 and 106 of the Constitution seeking increasing National Assembly and KP Assembly seats which were reduced following merger of tribal areas with the province.

Mohsin Dawar tabled the 26th Constitution (Amendment) bill which on Friday was backed both by government and the opposition.

The mover of the amendment bill in debate on the bill said that he had suggested to retain 12 seats of National Assembly which were reduced to six after merger of Fata province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and to increase general seats for KP Assembly from 16 to 24.

Dawar said that Standing Committee on Law and Justice had approved the bill with amendments and proposed to increase KP Assembly general seats from 16 to 20 and National Assembly seats from six to nine.

Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak while supporting the bill said people of Fata always expressed their affiliation with Pakistan, adding it was satisfying that the black law like Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) which was used to oppress people, had been abolished. He said Fata was rich with natural and mineral resources and its merger would bring prosperity and development and improve lives of the people.

He said the proposal to give three percent share of National Finance Commission (NFC) award to erstwhile Fata should be supported, adding the tribal areas would get funds of Rs1000 billion in ten years after allocation of share through NFC.

He said the provincial government was working to build institutions in the seven districts of Fata areas, adding schools, colleges, universities and water and electricity supply schemes would be undertaken and job opportunities would be created in the long neglected areas.

Parliamentary leader of Pakistan Muslim League-N Khawaja Asif said the tribal areas went through great difficulties in the last four decades and were ravaged by war, terrorism and chaos. In the decade of 1980s, he said Pakistan was affected due to proxy wars of super powers and war across the border in Afghanistan. War and terrorism affected Karachi, Waziristan, Lahore, Swat, Gilgit and other areas throughout Pakistan. Khawaja Asif regretted that two dictators just to prolong their rule and for their personal interests dragged Pakistan into war. “Through passage of this bill seeking amendments in the Constitution, we should also give a message that now we will not become tool in hands of any super power,” he said. Khawaja Asif noted that first time the House would pass an amendment bill in the Constitution which moved by a member as private member bill. He said after merger of erstwhile Fata into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, people of the area should be compensated for their sufferings and eviction from homes.

Sajid Hussain Turi said the changes in the Constitution for merger of former Fata were approved by the last Parliament. He observed that due to conflict, the economy of tribal areas was destroyed and should be given three percent share in the NFC award which amounted to funds of Rs100 billion every year.

MNA Mufti Shakoor thanked all the parties for supporting the bill for increase in seats. He pointed out that people of Fata had faced bloodshed and difficult conditions as several operations including Rudul Fasad and Zarbe Azab and combing operations were conducted by security forces. He pointed out that these areas urgently needed building of basic infrastructure of hospitals, schools, universities and roads.

Ali Wazir welcomed support of the parties for the bill and for doing away the 1901 Frontier Crimes Regulation and said the new constitutional arrangement would remove deprivation of the people. He demanded that elections should be held on seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly within six months.

Jamaluddin, Sajid Mohmand and Moulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali said the new legislation would prove beneficial for the people of Fata areas.

Minister for States and Frontier Regions Shehryar Afridi said provinces should keep aside their reservations and endorse three percent share for Fata areas in NFC and show solidarity with the tribesmen.