JUI-F stages protest ahead of KP Assembly vote on FATA-KP merger bill

KP govt unveils Rs900 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2019-20
Khyber Pakhunkhwa Assembly

PESHAWAR: The 31st Amendment Bill is set to face the final hurdle before it is presented to the president as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly gears up to vote on the fate of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) reforms.
While the assembly session has been called at 2pm, staunch opponent of the bill, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) members have started gathering outside the assembly to stage a protest. A heavy contingent of police has been deployed around and inside the assembly to avoid any untoward situation.
Under Article 139 (4) of the Constitution of Pakistan, the bill needs to be passed from the provincial assembly with two-third majority [83 votes] before sending it to the president for assent since it alters the limits of KP.
All political parties, on treasury benches and opposition, are in favour including the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Jamat-e-Islami (JI), Awami National Party (ANP) and the Qaumi Watan Party (QWP). The house has a total 124 seats out of which 121 are presently occupied which means that excluding the 16 JUI-F lawmakers, as many as 105 members are expected to vote in favour.
The PPP had demonstrated its keenness to vote and pass the bill by directing its lawmaker and former PTI mines and minerals minister Ziaullah Afridi to withdraw his no-confidence motions against Qaiser just hours after the bill had sailed through the National Assembly. This removed a major obstacle to holding a session of the assembly since any time the session would have been called, the matter of no-confidence against the speaker would have been tabled, putting into jeopardy any other agenda item.
After months of delay, the bill was approved in both upper and lower houses of the Parliament in a span of two days, May 24-25. Aimed to speedup mainstreaming of the tribal areas, the bill proposes merger of Fata with KP within two years.


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