Parliamentary leaders endorse KP-FATA merger amendment


ISLAMABAD: A day after the cabinet committee accorded approval to put before parliament the amendment for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas’ (FATA) merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the parliamentary leaders on Wednesday also finally gave a nod to amend the constitution to bring the merger into effect.

The decision was taken on Wednesday at a meeting of the parliamentary leaders chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

The session was attended by Barrister Zafarullah, Senate Opposition Leader Sherry Rehman, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Aftab Sherpao.

Reports said that earlier the government allies had a difference of opinion over the issue of FATA reforms. The coalition partners demanded that their 12 seats should be allotted in the National Assembly.

The coalition members demanded that when the internally displaced people (IDPs) return to their homes, the new census should be held.

The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party members boycotted the session.

The amendment bill for the merger is expected to be presented to the National Assembly on Thursday.

The seats for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly will increase to 147 from the current 126 after its merger with FATA, according to the proposed 30th amendment to the constitution.

The general seats of the provincial assembly will increase from 99 to 117, the bills states. Moreover, the seats for women will be increased from 22 to 26, while religious minorities’ seats from three to four.