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ISLAMABAD – Pakistan's upper house of parliament has passed a bill giving equal rights to 5 million people in the restive northwestern tribal region. It's a key step in bringing the tribes into the country's mainstream life and abolishing a vestige of British colonial rule.
The legislation was adopted in the Senate on Friday, a day after the lower house, the National Assembly, also approved it.
Now it goes to President Mamnoon Hussain for signing, likely within days, before becoming law.
The legislation merges the lawless tribal area with the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, bringing it into mainstream politics and giving its residents basic rights, such as the right to a trial.
Pakistan's tribal regions have long been a haven for militants and have seen several military operations in recent years.