The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly on Sunday approved the KP-Fata merger bill, paving way for the merger of the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (Fata) with the province.

The bill was passed with two-thirds majority — a Constitutional prerequisite for the proposed merger. As many as 92 lawmakers voted in favour while seven MPAs used their votes against the bill.

Following the provincial assembly’s approval, the landmark bill will bring the tribal borderlands, comprising seven agencies and six Frontier Regions, to the mainstream and they will be merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Tribal people will get representation in the KP Assembly through the amendment.

KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, while speaking in the assembly, asked the opponents of the bill to unite with those in favour. He said that the local bodies elections will be held in Fata this year, whereas the general elections will be held next year.

“During a meeting of the Fata Reforms Committee, Chief of Army Staff Gen Javed Qamar Bajwa had asked me to settle the issue of Fata once and for all,” he told fellow lawmakers.

The chief minister made it clear that Shariah Nizam-e-Adl Regulation (SNAR) would not be touched under the bill.

Assembly in session
Speaker Asad Qaiser presided over the session which started late due to protests outside the assembly.

KP Law Minister Imtiaz Shahid tabled the bill seeking a merger of Fata with the province in the assembly amid ruckus as the lawmakers associated with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) as well as disgruntled PTI members chanted slogans to register their protests.

The JUI-F has been opposing the bill and demanding a refer