ISLAMABAD - The Senate Standing Committee on Interior Thursday strongly condemned the continuous ceasefire violations by Indian Forces at Line of Control (LoC), targeting civilian population, sending spy drones in Pakistani territory and killing 35 Kashmiri youth in state violence against Muslims in India and Indian Occupied Kashmir. 

The committee offered Fateha for those who lost their lives while combating COVID-19 and expressed sympathies with their bereaved families. Committee also paid rich tribute to doctors, nurses, and paramedics, Pakistan Army, police and other LEAs for serving the nation day and night in these difficult moments of pandemic. Rehman Malik said that the committee had held an emergency meeting on February 27th on coronavirus after assessing its spread in Pakistan soon after its outbreak in China and Iran and had formulated a comprehensive 37-point Anti-Coronavirus National Action Plan well on time before it spread across the country.

Rehman Malik said that unfortunately the nation was not following the SOPs to prevent its further increase resultantly the numbers of positive cases and deaths were rapidly increasing.

Secretary Interior briefed the senate body on implementation of 37 points recommendation of the committee and said that it proved a compact guideline for the government to combat coronavirus.

He said the committee was the first ever forum that assessed the potential threat of coronavirus in the country and guided the government about its prevention well before its outbreak.

He said all the points were sent for implementation to the relevant departments and were implemented in all letter and spirit. 

Executive Director National Institute of Health (NIH) Major General Aamer Ikram also briefed the committee about the measures so far taken to combat coronavirus. While briefing the Committee on the Corona situation in the Country, he informed that fatality rate in Pakistan is 2.6 percent and currently there are 16 Centres running in Pakistan.   Rehman Malik directed that the testing capacity must be increased as the Senators from Balochistan expressed that testing facility is not available for people in their respective areas.

He also directed that test must be made more affordable that maximum people can be tested for coronavirus and that private labs must be accordingly regulated. He directed that residents of Kachi Abbadis must be tested for coronavirus free of cost as they can’t afford themselves so the ratio of spread of coronavirus could be well determined in the capital.

He constituted a sub-committee to be supervised by Senator Javed Abbasi to work out with Ministry of Interior and Health and suggest for the reduction in price of test for coronavirus and also to formulate a future strategy to combat the pandemic effectively.

The Committee unanimously passed two important resolutions. The resolution, moved by Rehman Malik stated “The Committee on Interior strongly condemns the continuous ceasefire violations by Indian Forces at Line of Control (LoC), violation of aerial territory by sending spy drones and targeting civilian population which is a sheer violation of agreement between India and Pakistan supervised by United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan to establish ceasefire at Line of Control. The committee unanimously adopts that the government of Pakistan should move the matter in the United Nations Security Council in the form of a complaint for continuous and unprovoked violations.” The Senate body applauds the Pakistan Armed Forces for shooting down the Indian spy Drones which violated Pakistani airspace with malicious designs of Warcraft. Malik stressed that India has nefarious designs against Pakistan and that the Armed Forces of Pakistan will give a befitting response to any misadventure from across the border.   He stressed the need for active UN intervention in this matter and assured Kashmiri brothers of Pakistan’s solidarity.

The committee also advised the government to call and host the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) moot to discuss the coronavirus outbreak and formulate a common counter coronavirus strategy.

In this regard, Rehman Malik moved the resolution which was adopted by the committee unanimously. He read the resolution “The Senate Standing Committee on Interior strongly recommends that SAARC moot may be called to formulate ‘SAARC Common Counter-Coronavirus Strategy’ to combat the COVID-19 effectively in the SAARC countries and to check the flow of coronavirus patients and its effects on law enforcements and national security in SAARC countries’.

The Committee discussed in detail various Bills presented to the Committee for review and reconsideration; these included the Islamabad Prevention of Beggary Bill, 2020; the Islamabad Consumer Protection (Amendment) Bill 2020; the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2020; the Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained or under Custodial Investigation Bill, 2020 and the Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (Ordinance no VI). The Ministry of Law and Justice and Ministry of Interior presented their views on the legislation. The Committee , after a detailed deliberation, passed the Islamabad Prevention of Beggary Bill, 2020; the Islamabad Consumer Protection (Amendment) Bill 2020; the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2020; and the Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained or under Custodial Investigation Bill, 2020. However the Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (Ordinance no VI) was deferred.