The National Assembly voted on Monday to increase the number of seats in the merged tribal districts (formerly known as FATA) to 24.
All 278 MNAs present in the assembly voted to increase the number of seats.
The bill, the Constitutional Amendment, 2019, was presented by the standing committee on states and frontier regions presented the bill as an amendment to the 26th Constitutional Amendment.
Before the bill was put before the assembly for a vote, Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the House and expressed his satisfaction that all parties were in a consensus on the matter.
He said by increasing the number of seats, the assembly was giving people in the merged districts more representation and a greater voice. The provinces have agreed to give 3% of their NFC Award to the merged districts for 10 years, said the premier, adding that this is very necessary. I know the provinces have issues with it and they think they don’t have the funds as it is, but this is necessary because the destruction in the merged districts could never be repaired with KP’s development budget, he said.
“All of Pakistan should support development in FATA,” he said, adding that this can only be done with the provinces chipping in their 3% of the NFC Award.
He said we must learn from the separation of East Pakistan. There was a sense of neglect, they felt they weren’t represented, didn’t have the same rights and weren’t included and we need to learn the lesson from this, he said. We shouldn’t ignore any area, he said, giving the example of Balochistan. No one should feel that they don’t own Pakistan and don’t have a stake in Pakistan, he said. This feeling is dangerous and can be and has been exploited by Pakistan’s enemies, said PM Khan.
He called for inclusive development and said areas left behind, be they in provinces or whole provinces, should be brought up too.
He said by increasing the number of seats for the merged districts and giving the NFC money, the people of the area will feel that the rest of Pakistan appreciates their sacrifices and will help them.