The ruling party Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) was unable to present the bill on merging Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in the National Assembly last Friday because opposition parties wanted some changes in the bill. The step taken is appreciable as it shows that government and opposition both do not want to take any action in haste. It is essential to keep it in mind the importance of a bill that is not flawed.
The reason the bill was not introduced in the house was that the opposition parties wanted to come up with an all-inclusive package featuring amendments to all concerned articles of the Constitution instead of doing it in steps and fragments. Now it is assumed that Wednesday will be the day when history shall be made.
Today, the opposition, FATA leaders will meet once again to have a final discussion on the FATA reforms bill. As leaders of different parties who support mainstreaming of the region say that progress has been made on the bill, it is crucial for all the stakeholders to keep it in mind that time is of the essence. The present democratic set up will function till 31st of May 2018. All the concerned people need to burn their midnight oil to come up with a perfect bill before the term of the present government is completed. If the bill is not tabled now, then the chances are that it will be thrown to the dustbin of history.
It is high time to allow no further delays in introducing the bill that is intended to change the fate of the people of FATA when all stakeholders are unanimously agreed on the fact that merging the region will benefit the common man of the area. Military too is supportive of the civilian government as far as the mainstreaming of FATA is concerned. The latest held meeting of National Security Council (NSC) after discussing all the issues and prospects of the process endorsed the merger along with the introduction of the administrative and judicial institutional structures and laws of the province.
It is also encouraging to see that all parties except for Jamiat Ulema Islam Fazal (JUI-F) and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) are all in for a speedy merger of the area with KP within one year. Whereas the allies of PML-N were absent from the meeting, the gesture shown by the PML-N reveals that it will not waste any further time on bringing them to the table to introduce the FATA merger bill on Wednesday.