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Opposition got furious over last-minute’ exclusion of FATA bill

12 December, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: The opposition got furious over ‘last-minute’ exclusion of a bill to extend the jurisdiction of Supreme Court and the Peshawar High Court to the FATA from agenda of the National Assembly on Monday and staged a walkout in protest which led to adjournment of the proceedings.

The Supreme Court and High Court (Extension of Jurisdiction to Federally Administered Tribal Areas) Bill, 2017, was made part of the agenda of the Lower House, however a revised order of the day was issued later on Monday excluding the said bill.

As soon as the proceedings began and Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi, who was chairing the session, started to take up leave applications, the opposition lawmakers rose up to their seats and started agitating against exclusion of the bill from the agenda.

Leader of the Opposition Syed Khurshid Shah took the floor and said, “It is beyond my comprehension as to why the government has removed this important legislation from the agenda.” He asked the government to share the reasons of exclusion of FATA bill with the House. He suggested the government not to play with the sentiments of the people of FATA. Minister for States and Frontier Regions Lt Gen (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch while explaining the situation said, “We have excluded the bill due to some technical reasons and it will be tabled in the House within next few days.”

Parliamentary Leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Shah Mahmood Qureshi also took strong exception to government’s move. “If all stakeholders are in favour for FATA reforms, why government is trying to ruin the consensus on the issue,” he asked.

“If there are any substantial reasons behind removal of the bill from the agenda as stated by the minister, government should share with us and we will accept those, otherwise it will be considered a move to destroy absolute consensus for the sake of some individuals,” he maintained. “The government calls for settling the disputes within the parliament but its own actions force the masses to hold sit-ins outside the parliament,” he added.

Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi tried to ease down the situation, saying it is the mandate of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs to prepare order of the day and it can make changes in it any time if required.

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