Senate Whole Committee recommends expanding superior judiciary’s jurisdiction to FATA

ISLAMABAD: Senate Committee of the Whole on Friday recommended to expand the jurisdiction of Supreme Court

of Pakistan and Peshawar High Court to Federal Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) by passing Bill, titled

the Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court (Extension of Jurisdiction to Federally Administered Tribal

Areas) Bill, 2018 forthwith,

A meeting of the Committee, chaired by Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani reviewed in details the

Bill, titled the Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court (Extension of Jurisdiction to Federally Administered

Tribal Areas) Bill, 2018 passed from the National Assembly.

The committee of the Whole House unanimously approved the Bill passed by the National Assembly. Minister for Law and Justice Chaudhry Mehmood Bashir Virk said the recommendations have been finalized after consulting all stakeholders and tribal elders.

Ameer Jamat-e-Islami Siraj-ul-Haq said tribal people had been granted right to vote in 2009.

The Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) was an arbitrary law, he added. He said FATA peoples do not know about their rights and Political Agent imposes taxes there. There is no audit franchise system in tribal areas, he added. He said the government has sought feedback from public after constituting a committee and the tribesman supported the Bill.

Senator Azam Khan Swati said Friday (Apr 13) will be remembered as historic day as the FATA people were being granted basic rights. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supported the Bill, he added.

Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Lt Gen (Retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch said no government did nothing for the welfare of FATA. FATA representatives had no authority to legislate for the welfare of their people, he added.

He said FCR was a black law and the whole tribe is sentenced on the crime of their one member. Tribesmen did not have any forum to challenge the decision of their respective political agent, he added.

He said FATA will be given due share in the next National Finance Commission (NFC)

Award.

Parliamentary Leader of FATA, Senator Aurangzeb said FATA people got freedom after long long struggle. The expansion of jurisdiction of superior judiciary is a welcome step, he added. He said the people of FATA were against FCR. FATA should be provided three percent share in NFC in the ensuing budget, he added.

Senator Mohammad Usman Khan Kakar said it is surprising that the government and opposition failed to evolve consensus on any issue but agreed on an unconstitutional Bill. The passing of the Bill was black day for FATA, he added.

He feared this may trigger unrest in the area. He challenged Safron minister ‘s claim that the

FATA people have been consulted before finalizing the Bill. The decision of unconstitutional committee

could not be imposed on FATA people, he added.

He said FATA bill should be kept pending till the next government. Senator Taj Mohammad Afridi said the Fata Reforms committee had been constituted by Prime Minister instead of President of Pakistan. The bill should be implemented on whole of FATA, he added.

Senator Atta-ur-Rehman said JUI-F had arranged a grand Jirga for seeking opinion of FATA for merger in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Majority was of the opinion that the decision on FATA should be kept pending till their return to native areas, he added.

Senator Sitara Ayaz said ANP supported FATA reform bill.

Senator Hidayatullah said the Fata bill should be passed immediately. Senator Sikandar Mandrio said uniform laws should be enacted and implemented in all areas of the country.

Leader of the Opposition in Senate Senator Sherry Rehman said it was the historic occasion. FATA people are being granted basic rights after a long time, he added. He said PPP presented the bill in the National Assembly. FATA should also be provided share in NFC Award, he added.

She said several taxes including FCR, Levy should be abandoned.