ISLAMABAD- The National Assembly has passed the Protection of Pakistan Bill 2014 which permits security forces to shoot suspects on sight with the permission of a Grade-15 official. The Bill has already been passed by the Senate.

The Bill was opposed in the Assembly by political parties, including Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam - Fazl and Jamaat-e-Islami.

Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid moved the bill in the National Assembly on behalf of Minister for Interior, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Highlighting the salient features of the amended Protection of Pakistan Bill, the Minister said special Courts will be established to ensure greater conviction in scheduled offences. Under the amended Bill, punishment in scheduled offences has been increased from ten years to twenty while the remand period has been curtailed to sixty days from the previous ninety days.

He informed that the amended Bill also clearly defines the role of armed forces and civilian forces to prevent the crimes. This Act will remain in force for a period of two years.

The bill has been prepared after detailed consultation with the opposition parties where their valuable suggestions were incorporated. According to Hamid, this bill’s passing had become a need of the hour after the launch of the operation in North Waziristan. This law will give statutory cover to armed forces that are fighting against the nation’s enemies.

The leader of the opposition in the House, Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah stated the Protection of Pakistan Bill is yet another historic legislation in the history of the country. He said the opposition, especially the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), will closely watch the implementation of this Bill during the next two years.