Senate approves bill to extend jurisdiction of Supreme Court, Peshawar High Court to FATA
Pakistan’s Senate made history on Friday by abolishing the draconian colonial-era Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) and extending the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court (SC) and the Peshawar High Court (PHC) to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) — a long-standing demand of the people of FATA.
The Supreme Court and High Court (Extension of Jurisdiction to FATA) Bill 2017 was presented in the upper house of the parliament by Senator Abdul Qadir Baloch. The bill has already been approved by the National Assembly.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Abdul Qadir Baloch said: “All rulers, including me, are indebted to the people of Fata. No efforts were made in the past to give full rights to the people of Fata.”
He also criticised the current legal system in place, whereby the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) — according to which jirgas accord punishments in civil and criminal cases on the basis of their own traditions and beliefs while the state assumes a limited role — regulates life in the region.
Two key political parties from FATA and allies of PML-N – Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party – boycotted the bill and lawmakers from both the parties staged a walkout.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) passed the bill in the absence of both the protesting parties.
The leader of the Opposition Senator Sherry Rehman congratulated the Senate the on the historic step.
“I would like to congratulate the Senate for passing this FATA Bill to extend SC and High Court jurisdiction to FATA. This is a first and key step towards mainstreaming of FATA Reforms” 🇵🇰- Leader of the Opposition, Sen @sherryrehman pic.twitter.com/ttKE8UFXZV
— SherryRehman’sOffice (@SRehmanOffice) April 13, 2018
Activist and researcher Usman Khilji hoped that FATA would soon be merged with KP after the passage of the bill.
Historic day today as Senate passed the bill to extend jurisdiction of Peshawar High Court and Supreme Court of Pakistan to FATA, & the President signed it into law. Mubarak to residents of FATA that have suffered under the draconian FCR for too long. Next: Merge FATA with KP!
— Usama Khilji (@UsamaKhilji) April 13, 2018