NA passes Bill to increase tribal PA seats 16 to 24 and NA seats six to 12


ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Monday unanimously passed the 26th Constitution Amendment Bill.
The bill was tabled by Mohsin Dawar – an independent member from tribal areas – and 288 Members National Assembly voted in favor of the bill while no MNA opposed it.
It was the first time in the Pakistan Parliament’s history that a bill presented by an independent member was collectively approved both by the government as well as the opposition.
After the approval of the 26th Constitution Amendment Bill, , the number of seats for Tribal districts has risen from 6 to 12 in the lower house of the Parliament, while it has been increased from 16 to 24 in the KP Assembly.
Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the NA session and said the people of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are going through a very difficult phase, and their concerns will now be listened at every forum.
“The whole nation is standing with the people of the tribal areas, and every province will give three percent from National Finance Commission (NFC) Award to the erstwhile FATA for ten years.
“Terrorism caused a lot of destruction in the tribal areas, and development funds cannot compensate for the damage.
“We suffered a lot when East Pakistan was separated, and anti-Pakistan elements can again use the sense of deprivation for negative purposes. The government had put its trust in all political parties regarding the FATA bill.”
Congratulating the entire lower house, Prime Minister Imran Khan appreciated the consensus between all parties on unanimously approving the 26th Constitution Amendment Bill seeking an increase in the number of seats for Tribal districts in the National and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assemblies.
Speaking from the floor of the lower house on Monday, Prime Minister Khan urged all provinces to contribute in the funds for the development projects of Tribal districts (formerly, FATA – Federally Administered Tribal Area).
He said it was decided that all provinces would give the three per cent from their respective National Finance Commission (NFC) Award for the development of war-torn ex-FATA.
Nevertheless, acknowledging the provinces’ reservation over the move, PM Khan elucidated: “The economic situation is bad and their [provinces’] funds are not at the level that they should be, but I think it [sharing funds with ex-Fata] is necessary because the kind of destruction caused in Fata? due to the war against terrorism, the damage done there ? KP could never cover that damage from its own development fund.”
“A big accident, the separation of East Pakistan, led to a sense of deprivation among the people,” he said relating the miseries of Tribal people. “This sense of deprivation is dangerous as it can be exploited by Pakistan’s enemies and it is being exploited,” Khan cautioned.
The public of Tribal areas wants to be heard, they want to come into the mainstream, PM Khan added. “Development should always be inclusive. Areas that are left behind should also be brought up,” he stated.
As the prime minister concluded his speech, Speaker Asad Qaiser called for a vote on the bill, and then on different sections of the bill. – NNI