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Resolution submitted to make laws for Fata



The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has submitted a resolution to the National Assembly Secretariat, seeking powers for the parliament to make laws for the country’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

According to a spokesman for the opposition leader in the National Assembly, the resolution has been moved by PPP lawmakers Syed Naveed Qamar, Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Dr Nafisa Shah and Shazia Marri.

It is expected to be taken up by the house in its forthcoming session starting from August 4.

In the resolution, members state that “all legislation on Fata should be undertaken by the legislative assemblies, i.e. the National Assembly and/or the Senate”.

Under Article 247 of the Constitution, the parliament has no powers to make laws for the tribal areas, which are governed by the country’s president through the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The demand to amend Article 247 is also included in the 11-point consensus recommendations, prepared by the Joint Committee on Fata Reform, consisting of representatives from 10 mainstream political parties of the country.

These recommendations have already been endorsed by the heads of eight parties, including the PPP and committee members have been waiting for an appointment with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan to secure their formal endorsements.

Opinion: Conflict in Fata

Ajmal Khan Wazir, the focal person for the committee formed in 2010, sounded surprised when Dawn contacted him for comment over the PPP move, saying that the PPP should have moved the resolution in consultation with the parties involved.

Mr Wazir, who hails from South Waziristan, said that despite having different ideologies and programmes, all 10 political parties had reached a consensus on the recommendations, which was a great achievement.

Saying that he could not disagree with the PPP resolution, but added: “No party should indulge in point-scoring on issues which all parties have agreed upon”.

The PPP, he said, should have waited for the final endorsement of the recommendations by the prime minister, since the PML-N was the largest party in assembly.

Mr Wazir, who is also the senior vice-president of the Pakistan Muslim League, said other members of the committee would definitely like to see the approval of all these recommendations through parliament like the 18th Constitution Amendment.

On the other hand, PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar, who is also a member of the Joint Committee on Fata Reforms and spokesman for party co-chairman Asif Zardari, supported his party’s move.

“It would have been better if the MNAs had done so in consultation with other parties. However, it is good enough if they have done so on their own,” Mr Babar said when asked to comment on Mr Wazir’s viewpoint.

Article 247(2) reads: “The President may, from time to time, give such directions to the Governor of Province relating to the whole or any part of a Tribal Area within the Province as he may deem necessary, and the Governor shall, in the exercise of his functions under this article, comply with such directions.”

Article 247(3) says: “No act of Majilis-e-Shoora (Parliament) shall apply to any Federally Administered Tribal Area or to any part thereof, unless the president so directs, and no act of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) or a Provincial Assembly shall apply to a Provincially Administered Tribal Area, or to any part thereof, unless the governor of the Province in which the Tribal Area is situated, with the approval of the president, so directs; and in giving such a direction with respect to any law, the President or, as the case may be, the governor, may direct that the law shall, in its application to a Tribal Area, or to a specified part thereof, have effect subject to such exceptions and modifications as may be specified in the direction.”

Similarly, Clause 5 of the same article says that “Notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution, the President may, with respect to any matter, make regulations for the peace and good government of a Federally Administered Tribal Area or any part thereof.”

Mr Wazir said the joint committee would go into session on Thursday to discuss the issue of the internally displaced persons uprooted by the military operation in North Waziristan.


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