Islamabad Politics Report/Moazzam Raza Tabassam: President Mamnoon Hussain on Monday signed the landmark bill paving the way for the much-awaited merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
The bill, titled 31st Amendment Act, 2018, had already been passed by the Upper, Lower House of the parliament and provincial assembly.
Aimed to speedup mainstreaming of the tribal areas, the bill also includes KP, FATA merger within two years.
The draft bill seeks to amend seven articles in the Constitution of Pakistan to allow implementation of proposed reforms. It seeks to omit paragraph C of sub-clause 2 of Article 1 under which FATA is placed as separate territory of the country like the four provinces. The omission will allow the tribal areas to merge with territory of KP.
The bill proposes amending clause 1 of Article 51 by reducing the number of seats in the National Assembly from 342 to 326. It adds clause 3A after clause 3 to give legal cover to representatives who will be elected from FATA in the general polls 2018. They will continue as member of the National Assembly till expiry of their five-year-term and after the five years, this new clause will stand omitted.
It also seeks removal of the word “Federally Administered Tribal Areas”, from the clause 5, under which seats of the National Assembly are allocated on population bases, and from sub-clause 1 of Article 155 which deals with the complaints and interferences with water supplies.
The draft pursues changes in Article 59, which deals with Senate, by reducing the number of Senate members from 104 to 96. It omits the sub-clause (b) of clause 1 that allocated eight members to the tribal areas. It will also delete the sub-clause (b) of clause 3 of the same article which states that four senators elected from Fata shall retire after three years while another four after next three years.
Furthermore, it seeks omission of the word “Federally Administered Tribal Areas” from its sub-clauses (b) and (f) of Article 272 which defines the constitution of Senate.
It proposes omitting clause C of Article 246 which defines and names Fata and seeks addition of clause D which states that laws applicable in these areas will remain applicable until repealed or changed by competent authority.
Under Article 247, the competent authority will be the federal government until after the elections when the jurisdiction for altering and repealing the laws prevailing in these areas will be passed to the assembly.