ISLAMABAD                 -                The Senate Standing Committee on Interior Friday expressed its serious concerns over the New Delhi riots, triggered by the controversial citizenship law, and strongly condemned the “ongoing massacre of Muslims” in India.

The committee was held under the chair of Senator A. Rehman Malik. At the start, the chair said that it was the 216th day of curfew in Indian Occupied Kashmir. “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brutalities are not only limited to the IOK but the streets of Delhi have also been stained with the blood of innocent Muslims,” he said.

Senator Rehman Malik said that it was heartbreaking to see the photographs and videos that activists of the RSS and BJP in mobs with sticks, iron rods and stones roaming freely on the streets of Delhi beating, humiliating and murdering unarmed Muslims.

He urged the international community to intervene and stop the ongoing massacre of Muslims in India. He regretted that US President Donald Trump on his visit to India did not take up the issue with the Indian government.

While considering precautionary and preventative measures being taken by the government to stop the potential spread of coronavirus in Pakistan, Senator Rehman Malik said that a special meeting of the committee was held on February 27 on the issue of deadly virus when the first two cases had been confirmed in Pakistan. He said that the committee was briefed by Executive Director NIH, FIA and clear directions were given to them for necessary measures at airports, dry ports and other entry points.

The committee expressed its dissatisfaction over the preventative measures so far taken against potential spread of coronavirus in the country.  The chair said that the committee had already directed to establish isolation centres in all cities and at every airport. He said that the 14 points earlier suggested by the committee to prevent the outbreak of deadly disease should be implemented.

Senator Rehman Malik strongly asserted that a task force must be formed headed by Prime Minister, who must personally oversee all affairs concerning precautionary measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Pakistan. He advised that all provincial chief secretaries, provincial health secretaries and heads of health departments should be included in the task force.

The chair demanded the government to immediately summon the special joint session of the Parliament to chalk out a comprehensive roadmap to control spread and combat this deadly epidemic.

Senator Kalsoom Parveen stressed the need to bring back Pakistani students stranded in China and pilgrims stranded on Pak-Iran border adding that no one can stop the entry of citizens to their own country.

Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi strongly demanded of the government to immediately appoint the federal minister for health so the government’s point of view could be presented in the parliament. This shows the non-seriousness of the government that in the critical situation when the coronavirus cases have been detected in the country, we are not having a permanent health minister in our country, he added.

The meeting discussed the implementation status of its recommendations to the Ministry of Interior pertaining to administrative, financial and legal issues of Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Municipal Corporation Islamabad (MCI). It observed that both institutions have miserably failed to settle down their outstanding differences.

Senator Rehman Malik directed both the organizations to implement the recommendations of the committee which have already been sent to the ministry. He said that the disputes were affecting efficiency and performance of both and the residents of Islamabad have become ultimate sufferers. He directed that recommendations of the committee should be followed in letter and spirit and a report should be submitted within forty days positively. He said that it is directed that the CDA employees shall continue their services on attachment basis under the administrative control of MCI. However, the status of employees will remains as CDA employees and their services should be governed under the relevant by-laws governing the authority till their retirement.

The meeting discussed three bills introduced by Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh including the Islamabad Prevention of Beggary Bill 2019, the Islamabad Consumer Protection (Amendment) Bill 2020, and the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2020.

After the detailed deliberation, the meeting referred the bills to the Ministry of Interior with directions to examine the same with the coordination of Ministry of Law and Justice and all other stockholders. 

While discussing the Islamabad Prevention of Beggary Bill, Senator Rehman Malik was of the view that a clause against forced deformities must be added in the bill. He said that it was highly condemnable and against the international human rights that little children were deformed by wearing iron rings around their head to make them abnormal for the malicious purpose of begging. The committee chairman suggested that a section must be introduced to deal with mafia involved in the child trade for begging purposes.

He said that it was highly alarming that children in the country are living under such a vulnerable environment as on every traffic signal, markets, parks, hospitals and other public places, one finds daily dozens of them roaming and begging. He stressed if stringent laws are not introduced today to protect these children, it can be turned into a big menace for the society in future. He directed the Ministry of Interior and Islamabad administration to launch a crackdown on baggers and instead of sending them to lock ups, the children should be sent to the Child Protection Centres. He also directed that bagging children should be provided with good food and proper education. 

Senior officers from NIH, FIA, and CDA and ministries of national health services, and interior attended the meeting.