ISLAMABAD – On Friday the National Assembly passed ‘The Alternate Dispute Resolution Bill, 2017’ with some amendments a bill giving legal and constitutional cover to the centuries old jirga and panchayat systems in the country with a view to ensure speedy resolution of petty civil matters and reduce the burden of litigations on the courts.

Law Minister Zahid Hamid moved the bill and termed it “important and historic”, having components of conciliation, arbitration and panchayat.

He said the bill was according to the manifesto of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), under which an alternate dispute resolution would be introduced both in civil and criminal cases. He said the system would be applicable to 23 types of cases.

For this purpose either the federal government would request provinces or provinces would request the federal government for implementation of the new legislation, the law minister told the house.

“The system has existed in the country for past several years and we are giving it a legal cover,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, legislators in the Lower House of parliament were informed that the rehabilitation and reconstruction work was being carried out in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with a cost of Rs 80 billion.

The process of rehabilitation and reconstruction would be completed next year, Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch said while responding to a calling attention notice moved by Qaisar Jamal and others regarding non-inclusion of NA-47 in the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Unit.

Baloch said that priority was being given to North and South Waziristan, where more destruction had been caused due to terrorism.

He said the frontier regions had been included in this programme, and assured the fellow lawmakers that reconstruction and rehabilitation work would soon begin in NA-47.

Later, Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada lay before the House the annual report of the Council of Common Interests for the year 2015-16. The House was informed that all arrangements had been made to conduct new population and housing census from March 15.

Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan told the House during the question hour that the process would begin at the same time across the country. He said that provincial governments had appointed their representatives as focal persons for census activities, and Rs 14.5 billion had been allocated for the operation.

To a question, he said there was no need to seek new loans from the International Monetary Fund, since the country had stable economic conditions.