ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Thursday passed a constitutional amendment billclearing the way for the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.
Voting on each clause of the bill was concluded in the afternoon, a day after the parliamentary committee gave it their go-ahead. The bill, moved by Law Minister Chaudhry Mahmood Bashir Virk, requiredtwo-third majority to be passed.
229 members voted in favour of the constitution amendment while one voted against it. The bill was opposed by government allied parties Jamiat-e-ulema-Islam (JUI-F) and Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP).
The amendment will bring an end to colonial-era laws governing the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), extending the writ of Pakistani courts to its districts and increasing development assistance to its residents.
“Today this house has approved a historic bill, which will have very positive effects for Pakistan. I thank the opposition for their support,” Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told legislators after the vote.
“We need to provide (FATA residents) with all those facilities which are available to the people in the rest of Pakistan,” he added.
The Upper House of the Parliament, the Senate, is scheduled to vote on the bill on Friday, after which it will need the signature of the president to be passed into law.
‘Bill passed with national consensus’
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, while addressing the NA session after the bill was passed said that a committee worked for over two years and presented a report that had led to the constitution of the FATA implementation committee.
“The committee report was assessed by civil and military leadership including the army chief,” he said, adding that the bill was approved with a consensus of the government and opposition members.
“I am thankful especially to Khursheed Shah, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and Farooq Sattar,” he said.
The treasury and opposition benches came together to jointly pass the bill, he said.
“We needed a national consensus, which was needed and visible,” Abbasi remarked.
Imran says passing bill ‘great victory’
After the bill was passed by the lower house of the Parliament, PTI Chairman Imran Khan said the bill’s approval was a great victory for the country.
While addressing the NA session, he said the coming time would tell that it was the right step to take.
“There was a huge gap in the tribal areas which the enemy could have benefited from. The vacuum in FATA has now been filled,” said Imran.
Congratulating the members of the house, Imran clarified that his party had represented the public in its stance on the merger of FATA-KP.
As NA Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq had earlier called for voting on the clauses of the bill, 229 lawmakers voted in favour of the first clause while 11 opposed it. Meanwhile, the second clause was favoured by 229 lawmakers and opposed by three.
According to Geo News, there was an error in one of the clauses in the bill which was then amended by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Zahid Hamid and approved.
“The seats for women in KP and Punjab Assembly have increased from 9 seats to 10,” Hamid explained while making the change.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) members had staged a walkout from the assembly when voting on clauses had started.
After months of delays following disagreements between coalition partners and the opposition over its clauses, the bill on the 31st Amendment of the Constitution was tabled by Law Minister Chaudhry Mehmood Bashir Virk.
JUI-F and PkMAP opposed the bill when it was tabled while Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) announced its support after expressing reservations.
PM, Imran in attendance
The NA Speaker was chairing the 56th NA session, attended byPrime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. In a rare move, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan had also attended the session to vote for FATA’s merger with KP.
Addressing the NA before the bill was tabled, PM Abbasi had said: “The FATA-KP merger bill is everyone’s bill not government’s nor opposition’s.”
I do not remember when I last attended NA session, says Imran
“The bill aims at changing the 150-year-old system in tribal areas,” the premier had added.
The House had earlier waited for more lawmakers to arrive before the bill was passed as while the government lacked attendance, the opposition was in full strength.
The House was in order despite JUI-F MNA Maulana Jamaluddin pointing out quorum.
A session of the parliamentary leaders chaired by PM Abbasi was held on Wednesday, where the leaders finally agreed upon the amendment bill for the merger.
The session was attended by Barrister Zafarullah, Senate Opposition leader Sherry Rehman, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and Aftab Sherpao. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party members boycotted the session.
Earlier this week, the amendment was approved by the federal cabinet in a session presided over by the prime minister.
The KP assembly adopted a resolution on December 14, 2016 in favour of merging FATA with KP with the aim of rehabilitating and reconstructing the infrastructure including roads, communications, power lines, water supply, education and health facilities.
In a meeting on December 26, 2017, the federal cabinet approved the formation of a high-level national implementation committee for FATA reforms.
‘KP Assembly seats to increase to 147’
The draft bill seeks to amend seven articles in the Constitution of Pakistan to allow implementation of proposed reforms.
The bill seeks an amendment to Article 1 of the Constitution, which defines the country’s territory and mentions FATA as a separate entity along with other four provinces.
The bill also seeks to increase the number seats for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly to 147 from the current 126
Parliamentary committee agrees on amendment for KP-FATA merger
The general seats of the provincial assembly will increase from 99 to 117, the bill states. Moreover, the seats for women will be increased from 22 to 26, while religious minorities’ seats will increase from three to four.
According to the sub-section of the bill, FATA will be granted 18 general seats, four seats for women and one for religious minorities.
Moreover, FATA’s 12 seats in National Assembly will be merged in KP Assembly and KP seats will increase from 48 to 60 in the National Assembly.
Chief Justice Pakistan Nisar orders #PIA to remove Markhor portrait
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar has stopped #Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) from changing the national carrier’s livery.
Last month, PIA introduced a new livery with its logo and design to include a painting of the Markhor, the national animal, which inhabits the mountainous regions of Pakistan.
Managing Director PIA appeared before the Supreme Court on Sunday in suo motu case pertaining to the losses incurred during the past 10 years.
The CJP asked the official about the expenses for livery change. To this query, MD said approximately Rs2.7 million will be spent on one plane.
CJP Nisar then remarked that according to his information it would cost Rs3.4 million. He then directed the managing director to submit a complete report in this regard also informing the court who was awarded the contract.
KARACHI: Like other sectors, the transport sector also did not receive any new development schemes in the provincial budget for the fiscal year 2018-19 announced on Thursday.
No allocation was made in the budget for the procurement of buses for the Green Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme. The BRT is currently under construction with funds provided by the federal government. However, after the expected completion of the BRT from Surjani Town till Gurumandir in June, the project will be handed over to the provincial government for which it will have to procure buses.
Launched by Ravi Group Pakistan, Italian superbike manufacturer Aprilia offers a diverse range of top-end motorbikes to enthusiastic bikers with its premium features and powerful engines. The company is a subsidiary of Piaggio & C. SpA which is also parent to Vespa, Gilera, Derbi, Moto Guzzi, and Scarabeo. In Pakistan, several Aprilia bikes are available including Tuono V4 1100 RR, Tuono 125, Dorsoduro 900, and Shiver 900. These bikes come with the company’s official after-sale services and warranties.
#China to build one of the largest oil refinery in #Pakistan near #Lahore
#ISLAMABAD: One of the largest Oil Refinery is likely to be built near Lahore to cater for the energy needs of the province.
The Chinese company has initiated work on the feasibility for setting up deep conversion oil refinery close to Lahore for catering to the upcountry’s needs. The estimated cost of the mega refinery hovers at $6 billion including the construction of the crude oil pipeline from port city to Lahore.
On the sidelines of Boao Economic Forum recently held in the month of April in China and attended by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqaan Abbasi, Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and Power China for the construction of the upcountry deep conversion oil refinery and crude oil pipeline. The project will help reduce the cost of transporting petroleum products via road from refineries in southern areas and also ensure uninterrupted supply.
Pak-China working group on setting up mega project of oil refinery in Lahore has been set up and to this effect Chinese company has started working on the feasibility study. Petroleum Division (Energy Ministry) has written a letter to the government of Punjab asking for the allocation of 1000-1200 acres of land, a senior official told The News.
Keeping in view increasing POL needs after the completion of projects under CPEC umbrella, Pakistan is going to install two mega deep conversion oil refineries one at Lahore and other at Khalifa Point, HUBCO and more importantly the government has asked the existing oil refineries to upgrade. Upcountry refinery to be set close to Lahore and Khalifa Point refinery will produce the POL products at par with the Euro-5 products. The Lahore refinery will be having the capacity to refine 2500,00-300,000 barrels per day.
To a question, the official said that Lahore refinery will be provided the crude oil through a pipeline that will be laid down either from Karachi or from Somiani port, Balochistan. The experts say the laying of pipeline from Somiani will be more feasible and practical as in Karachi, the congestions of pipeline has aggravated.
The official said that this very vital project will be executed under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. By 2030, the demand of the petroleum products in upcountry that include Punjab, KPK, and Northern Parts of the country will inflate up to 60 million tons and it is a wakeup call for the existing refineries to upgrade themselves to cater to the future needs of the country.
More importantly, the financial closure of Khalif Point Refinery has also been achieved. Pak-Arab Refinery Company (PARCO) will establish Khalif Point Refinery with a capacity to refine the crude oil up to 300,000 barrels per day.
#Hakla-#DIKhan Motorway: Project to be completed by year-end
ISLAMABAD: The under-construction Hakla-DI Khan Motorway project will be completed by the end of this year, which will reduce travel time and boost economic activities in less developed areas of #Punjab and #KhyberPakhtunkhwa. The four-lane 285-kilometre north-south motorway is being developed as part of western alignment of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an official of the National Highway Authority (NHA) told APP on Tuesday.
The motorway continues to advance before terminating near the town of #Yarrik, north of DI Khan city. For ensuring timely completion, the Hakla-DI Khan Motorway has been divided into five phases including Yarik-Rehmani Khail section, Rehmani Khail-Kot Belian section, Kot Belian-Tarap section, Tarap-Pindi Gheb section and Pindi Gheb-Hakla Interchange section.
#KPK #Pakistan #CPEC