ISLAMABAD – President Mamnoon Hussain has signed a bill extending coverage of the Supreme Court (SC) and Peshawar High Court (PHC) over the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), shaping it up as a law.

The President signed the bill on the recommendation of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The bill had already been passed by the National Assembly and Senate.

On April 13, the Upper House of the Parliament unanimously passed an extension of the jurisdiction to FATA bill, 2018.

The bill, which was already approved by the National Assembly, was moved by Law Minister Mahmood Bashir Virk.  He while briefing on the bill, said that it was drafted after consensus from all the leaders and other political stakeholders.

However, the Senators from Jamiat Ulema-e Islam-Fazl and Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party staged a walkout in protest against the tabling of the bill.

“The decision to approve the bill is against the people of Fata,” JUI-F Senator Maulana Attaur Rehman said and added that the bill is supported by both the government and the opposition which raises questions about it being brought on someone else’s behest.

The extension of the apex courts’ jurisdiction is one of several demands of the people of FATA who seek to be treated similarly as the rest of the country.

Nawaz felicitates tribals on extension of SC, PHC jurisdiction to FATA

The KP Assembly had 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.

The recommendations to bring the tribal areas at par with the rest of the country were approved by the federal cabinet on March 2, 2017, but the matter has been delayed since then.