Islamabad - Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior yesterday expressed its concern over delay in renewal of arms licences by the federal government and absence of a clear policy in this regard. State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi, among others, attended the meeting.

Afridi informed the committee that Ministry of Interior had begun issuance of computerised arms licences through NADRA in December 2010 while the manual arms licences were computerised with effect from October 2011.

After computerisation of arms licences, the government decided to renew arms licences through NADRA instead of National Bank of Pakistan. He added that the decision was declared void by Lahore High Court and Peshawar High Court and that the matter was pending with the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He agreed that a hassle-free mechanism for renewal of arms licences must be devised. The committee also voiced its concern over delay in issuance of passports and NICOP to the overseas Pakistanis.

Chairman Committee Senator Rehman Malik said that he had received numerous complaints from overseas Pakistanis that they were facing difficulties in getting their passports and NICOPs on time. He said the data of applicant was uploaded in the foreign countries while processing and printing of the passport was taking place in Pakistan. This, he stressed, caused considerable delay in the issuance of passports resulting trouble among overseas Pakistanis.

He advised the Ministry of Interior to look into the feasibility of getting the passports printed in respective embassies so that both money and time of applicants could be saved.

He asked the ministry to inform as how many NADRA and passport offices were shut down abroad. The ministry was directed to provide a report in this regard.

Committee also recommended enahncment in punishment for ‘hundi dealers’ from two years to seven years and fine to 35 laces.

Senator Sitara Ayaz urged the government for implementation on the ban on child labour and strict compliance of human rights to children. She pointed out that the government had not established a Federal Child Protection Commission so far, as promised by the previous governments.

Alarmed by the increasing number of begging children at traffic signals, streets and markets of the federal capital, the committee urged the government to implement ban on child labour in letter and spirit.

Rehman Malik directed that complete ban on professional begging and child labour be enforced across the country particularly and initially in Islamabad. He stated that traffic police must report all begging activity at traffic signals, adding that as per UNO demand the government must establish welfare institutions where street children could be provided education and skills.

He added that the Ministry of Human Rights and Baitul Maal should coordinate with stakeholders for protection of the street children and the commissioner Islamabad must constitute a committee comprising local residents to monitor the implementation on the decision of the committee to eliminate child labour and begging.

The meeting directed the Ministry of Interior to launch a crackdown operation against baggers and ensure implementation on the ban of child labour and begging in Islamabad.

He said that it was highly alarming that children in country were growing under such a vulnerable environment as on traffic signal, markets, parks, hospitals and other public places, one could daily find dozens of children roaming and begging freely. He added that among street children were majority of those who were subjected to professional begging and were forced to beg. He stressed that if stringent laws were not introduced now to protect these children; it could be turned into a big menace for the society in future.

State Minister on Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi appreciated the committee’s move towards elimination of begging and child labour across the country particularly Islamabad and assured the committee of his full support in this regard.

The meeting briefly discussed heartbreaking incident of rape and murder of three years old Faryal in Tehsil Havelian of District Abbottabad. KP Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Alam Khan Shinwari briefed the Committee about the tragedy and said that police were after the culprits and were working day and night to identify the rapist and murderer of minor girl. DIG Shinwari assured the committee that police were close to the culprits and hopefully will reach the real one in a couple of days.

DIG Shinwari requested the committee chairman to allow them more time for submission of report on which the chairman gave three-week time to KP police for submission of detailed report. Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior Senator A. Rehman Malik stressed the need for strict action against perpetrators of this heinous crime and was of the view that such individuals are not fit to be called humans. The minister of state for interior was also of the view that a very strong recommendation must be made on this forum so that strong action could be taken against such criminals. He recommended that perpetrators of this crime must be hanged publicly.

The committee recommended that all stakeholders must revisit their decision regarding public hanging in such rape cases and must ensure that such criminals must be publicly hanged. It was further recommended that trial on such cases must not take more than 90 days. Chairman stated that he and the committee will be monitoring into investigation of the tragedy and will follow the case till the culprit of this heinous crime was not punished.

The meeting, chaired by Rehman Malik, was also attended by Senator Javed Abbasi, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh, Senator Muhammad Shafiq Tareen, Senator Kulsoom Parveen and Senator Kauda Babar as members and Senator Sitara Ayaz and Senator Dilawar Khan as special invitees, besides senior officers from Ministry of Interior, Sheikh Ansar Aziz the Mayor, MCI Islamabad, Mr. Afzal Latif the Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA), Deputy Commissioner Islamabad and Director Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and others.

Senator Rehman Malik appreciated the state minister and Dr. Aamer Ahmed Special Secretary Ministry of Interior for their presence and cooperation with Senate Standing Committee on Interior.  Considering a point of public importance regarding request of ‘Mukhtiar Begum for Justice of her son Shahid Ilyas, Assistant Director FIA,’ Senator Malik asked Mukhtiar Begum to feel free while sharing the problems. The chairman and the members were disconcerted at the rash treatment of his mother by alleged FIA inspectors and recommended that the FIA must fix responsibility of those involved in her torture and submit its report within four weeks, so that strict action could be taken against those involved.