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Pakistan parliament votes to merge tribal lands with northern province

[JURIST] Pakistan's lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, passed a Constitutional amendment [text, PDF] Thursday that merges a region known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province along Pakistan's northwest Afghanistan border.

The move extends a number of political, administrative, and human rights reforms to the FATA, and extends jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Peshawar High Court as well.

According to a UN Development Program report [text, PDF] the FATA rank at a very low human development classification with a 7.5 percent satisfaction in healthcare facilities, and a 15 percent immunization rate, compared with 72.7 percent and 78 percent respectively in KP. The new merge will govern 5 million citizens in FATA under the same administration and rights as those in the KP province, and dedicate $865 million a year to the province for development.

The amendment passed 229-1 in the 342-member house, with JUI-F, a right-wing religious party abstaining. It now moves to Pakistan's upper house and the KP provincial assembly where it is expected to pass.

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