ISLAMABAD - Amid strong protest and walkout by PML-N members, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice passed the Fair Trial Bill 2012.

The NA Standing Committee on Law and Justice met under the chair of Begum Nasim Chaudhry. The members were deliberated on various clauses of the bill when abruptly the chairperson pronounced the passage of bill by the committee. PML-N members lodged a strong protest over the attitude of the chairperson and later staged a walkout form the committee. Meanwhile, MQM’s member AS Zafar also opposed the bill and said that it did not contain even the proper definition of terrorism and stressed that more debate and deliberations are required to further fine-tune the contents of the bill.

Under the Fair Trial Bill emails, telephonic conversation and other electronic data could be used as evidence in court of laws and agencies were given sweeping powers to monitor and bug the telephonic conversations and other electronic contacts between the private people on suspicion of terrorism.

During the debate on the bill the PML-N members of the committee raised objection that who would ensure that the powers to be given to law enforcement agencies would not be misused and in case a child would send a wrong email, how his case would be tackled and not used as arm-twisting tactics.

In the previous sitting of the committee it was decided that a special committee would be formed which also included Federal Law and Defence ministers as its members would brief the members and would satisfy them on these queries.

The sub-committee would also devise the mechanism to prevent the misuse of the powers of issuing arrest warrant under the proposed law.

PML-N members of the committee said that government was get the new law enacted in haste whereas keeping in view the sensitivity of the matter more deliberations would be required to remove certain ambiguities so that the new law could not be misused.