ISLAMABAD: Fata reforms for mainstreaming tribal areas will be enforced in the remaining tenure of the current government, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi announced in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
He also said the modalities for implementing these reforms would be discussed with representatives of all political parties and other stakeholders.
Abbasi arrived in the house during the last few minutes of the opening post-budget debate by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah.
During his speech, there were less than 20 lawmakers in the NA.
Referring to the meeting of the implementation committee on Fata reforms, which he chaired earlier in the day, the PM stated that the government would implement Fata reforms in an effort to bring tribal areas at par with other parts of the country through development schemes.
“The parliament and all other stakeholders are committed to implementing Fata reforms…Everyone wants to bring Fata into the national mainstream,” he said. He also said that a thorough discussion was needed on the reforms.
He said he would take all parliamentary leaders onboard and decide about the timeframe for implementing these reforms, fine-tuning the required legislation, and other modalities.
“We wish to complete this during the current term of this assembly…We will sit together with all parties as it is urgently needed by the people of Fata and Pakistan,” he maintained.
Announcing the decision to abolish the agency development fund, Abbasi also said that local government elections would be held in Fata before October this year, enabling the local people to take part in this process.
Referring to elections for the National Assembly and provincial assembly, he said that a timeframe would be finalised in consultation with all political parties.
On the matter of financial support needed for Fata reforms, the PM said that Rs1 trillion would be provided in addition to other federal allocations.
“We will provide adequate financial support and the matter will also be taken up in the Council of Common Interests (CCI) and may also be discussed in the National Finance Commission (NFC),” he said.
All requirement and modalities would be finalised over the next four weeks, he said.
“I hope all parties will cooperate to complete this process as quickly a possible,” he said.
Right after the start of the session, the House unanimously passed a resolution moved by opposition parties, condemning derogatory remarks about Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party workers by lawmakers of the ruling party.
Condemning the use of “filthy language”, PTI’s chief whip Shireen Mazari said that the situation would not have exacerbated if PML-N’s Khawaja Asif had apologised for his statement against her. “I demand an apology,” she said.
Contending that her privilege had been breached, she also asked Abid Sher Ali to tender an apology.
Later, leader of the opposition Shah lambasted the government for what he termed anti-people budget.
He said that the government had not focused on health, education and agriculture sectors. “The ruling party has deviated from the promises it made in its manifesto, including spending at least four per cent of GDP on education, and making a massive investment in health and agriculture,” he said.
He said that the government did not care and pointed out the absence of numerous ministers as evidence.
Terming the budget illegal, he said that nothing had set aside in the budget for water.
He discussed various aspects of the budget for two hours and later requested Speaker Ayaz Sadiq to adjourn the house for lack of quorum.
The house was adjourned till Thursday.