ISLAMABAD - National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior and Narcotics Control has passed the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 in majority with some amendments amid severe reservations of MQM members while it could not decide the fate of the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance, 2013 due to difference of opinion of members on it.
A meeting of the parliamentary panel was held here on Monday under the chairmanship of MNA Rana Shamim Ahmed Khan to discuss the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 (Ordinance No. VII of 2013) and the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance, 2013 (Ordinance No. IX of 2013).
The committee discussed the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 in detail and passed the bill in majority with some amendments. The main object of the bill is that due to the increasing terrorism in the country, more legislative measures are required to enhance the effectiveness of the law enforcing agencies in tackling heinous crime, specially conferring powers of investigation on Rangers, providing legal cover to joint investigation team (JIT) and enabling police to become complaints in extortion cases. It also includes special provisions for protection of witnesses as well as faceless witness through video recording.
Members of the committee belonging to MQM opposed the bill under which law enforcement agencies could detain any suspect for a period of 90 days as well as these could shoot at the dangerous criminals on the spot. Under the proposed bill, it would be the discretionary power of the court to accept electronic witness. The representative of National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACT) briefing the committee about the bill said that a committee would be formed at each district level that would oversee any action of the police taken under this law. Under the proposed bill, the head of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), constituted to investigate any terrorist, would be an officer of grade 18 of SP rank and it would consist of five members with at least three for quorum.
The committee could not decide the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance, 2013 due to the difference of opinions among the members and kept it pending till the next meeting.
MPs from MQM also strongly protested over this bill what they said that under the bill no one would be allowed to hold a peaceful demonstration. They said that their party would protest against the bill through out the Sindh as such legislations were being imposed only in Indian held Kashmir.
The parliamentary panel expressed its deep sorrow and offered Fateha over the death of SP CID Chaudhry Aslam, ANP leader Mian Mushtaq and his companions, those six persons who died during attack on Amir Muqam, Advisor to the Prime Minister, and who died in other incidents during last week.
It also unanimously passed a resolution appreciating the unprecedented role of Shaheed Aitazaz Hassan, a 15-year-old student who secured lives of more than 100 students in Hangu.
MNA Nabil Ghabool told the committee that Interior Ministry had informed him that he had been facing life threats along with SP CID Chaudhry Aslam and he was on the hit list of Taliban. He said that the Sindh government had withdrawn his security a week earlier and it would be responsible for any mishap with him. The committee decided that a letter in this connection would be written to Secretary Interior and to all chief ministers for provision of security to those parliamentarians whose life was under threat
The committee also showed its displeasure over the absence of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Secretary Interior Shahidullah Khan in the meeting and remarked that the committee should be abolished if the minister did not want to attend it.
MNAs including Syed Javed Ali Shah, Ghalib Khan, Sheikh Muhammad Akram, Syed Iftikhar-ul-Hassan, Makhdoomzada Basit Bokhari, Nauman Islam Sheikh, Ehsan-ur-Rehman Mazari, Nawab Muhammad Yousuf Talpur, Ms Naeema Kishwer Khan, Dr. Arif Alvi, Syed Asif Hasnain, Sardar Nabil Ahmed Gabol, Sher Akber Khan, Mian Shahid Hussain Khan Bhatti, Makhdoom Syed Ali Hassan attended the committee besides officers from the ministries of Interior and Law, Justice and Human Rights and its attached departments.