PM Abbasi chairs meeting of parliamentary leaders over FATA reforms

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is chairing a meeting of parliamentary leaders to discuss concerns over delays to the introduction of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) Reforms Bill, among other matters of national and regional importance.
The prime minister is also expected to take the leaders into confidence on matters related to the recently held Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit on Jerusalem.
Leaders from the Pakistan Peoples Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Awami Muslim League, Jamaat-e-Islami are in attendance. Representatives from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, however, are missing from the huddle.
The matter of FATA’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has been delayed since the recommendations to bring the tribal areas at par with the rest of the country were approved by the federal cabinet on March 2.
On Thursday, members of opposition parties staged a walkout from the National Assembly in a bid to press the government to introduce the FATA Reforms Bill.
Addressing the house yesterday, Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah had said the government wanted to sideline the FATA reforms and the area’s merger with KP.
He had stated that the people of tribal areas wanted their rights.
Pakistan Peoples Party’s Naveed Qamar had said the government was being blackmailed to not present the bill in Parliament.
Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami League chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai, whose party along with another government ally JUI-F has been opposing FATA’s merger with KP, had said the Frontier Crimes Regulation in the tribal areas should be abolished first.
He had also called for the formation of a committee with all stakeholders to debate over the matter and demanded a separate governor for FATA.