ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan passed legislation Thursday (May 24) paving the way for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to enter the political mainstream and bringing a likely end to a colonial-era arrangement that endorsed collective punishment and fuelled militancy.
Within the National Assembly, 229 voted for the amendment and one against. Ten members abstained, according to state media.
The legislation requires final approval from the Senate and the signature of the president -- moves that are considered all but inevitable after the overwhelming vote in the lower house.
The Senate is scheduled Friday (May 25) to review the bill, Dawn reported.
The amendment is meant to bring an end to colonial-era laws governing FATA, extend the writ of Pakistani courts to its districts and increase development assistance to its residents. If it is enacted, FATA will be officially merged into neighbouring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
The new amendment was largely celebrated across FATA.
"It's a historic day; I am more than happy," said Malik Zarnoor Afridi of Khyber Agency.
Samiullah Jan, from South Waziristan Agency, said he hopes FATA will see an increase in development aid.
"They will get quality education, quality health care, roads, electricity, gas and economic opportunities," said Jan.