ISLAMABAD: Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Abdul Qadir Baloch reiterated his government’s resolve that Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) would be brought to mainstream and all the allied parties are on board in this regard.
The National Assembly (NA) passed with the majority a bill extending the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court (SC) and the Peshawar High Court (PHC) to the terror-stricken FATA in order to pave the way for a merger of the tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
However, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman strongly objected to the move and threatened to part ways with the government. The government, in a bid to persuade Fazl, sent Baloch to his residence to address his reservations regarding the passage of the bill.
Talking to media here on Friday, along with Fazl-ur-Rehman, Baloch said out of 25 articles of FATA reforms, a single article has been brought to the National Assembly.
He said that the FATA merger issue would be decided in accordance with article 247, and the final decision would be taken after taking all the government-allied parties on board.
The minister said that Jirga should decide about the constitutional status of FATA, adding that they had constitutional differences with JUI-F chief, who was opposing the extension of PHC’s jurisdiction to FATA. He said that the allied parties are with the government on the issue of FATA merger.
Meanwhile, Fazl said that the JUI-F had strong reservations regarding the bill, but even then the government passed the bill without taking his party into confidence.
He said that the prime minister, during a meeting, assured him that the FATA reform process has been halted, but the way the bill passed was shocking to them.
Fazl said that he didn’t pressurise the government for a meeting, as Baloch came to him for a meeting on his own, adding that they wanted a resolution of the FATA’s issue amicably.