Senate body refers bill to CII

ISLAMABAD – The Senate Standing Committee on Interior referred on Monday the proposed Protection of Rights of Transgender Persons Bill to the Council of Islamic Ideology after the law ministry opposed it.

The committee that met under the chair of Senator Rehman Malik referred the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Protections of Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2017, moved by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Rubina Khalid, to the CII after hearing representatives of the law ministry and the CII.

A representative of the law ministry informed the committee that the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) already covered the changes proposed in the bill to ensure rights of the transgender persons.

The mover of the bill insisted that there was need to make changes in the law that did not cover the transgender persons when it defines the rights of male and female persons.

When the committee asked from a representative of the CII to give his comments on the proposed law, he failed to satisfy it. The meeting asked the CII to give a clear answer, in affirmative or negative, on the bill with proper justification.

The committee directed that the CII Chairman, Qibla Ayaz, should attend the next meeting himself.

The meeting also passed a unanimous resolution condemning the recent attack on the Directorate of Agricultural Institute in Peshawar.

The chair also asked the Ministry of Interior and the Foreign Office to look into some tweets from an Indian signalling possibility of more such attacks.

“Senate Standing Committee on Interior strongly condemns the painful terror attack on [the] Agriculture Training Institute, Peshawar wherein on December 1, 2017, 12 innocent people including students were martyred and some 35 were injured,” said the resolution moved by Senator Rehman Malik.

“The committee expresses grave concern over the recent wave of terrorism across the country and demands the Government of Pakistan through Ministry of Interior to review the National Action Plan (NAP) and its implementation since its formation in 2014,” the resolution said.

The meeting demanded that the government of Pakistan “take up this matter with [the] government of Afghanistan as chief terrorists like Mullah Fazalullah and others are sponsoring terrorism from Afghanistan inside Pakistan.”

The committee also called for the enhancement of security across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. It also demanded the government “to take up with [the] Interpol the issue of Fazalullah and other terrorists hiding in Afghanistan in order to pressurise Afghanistan to handover these terrorists to Pakistan.”

Expressing his concern over the fresh wave of terrorism across the country, Malik said that India was behind terrorism in Pakistan and the RAW was using Afghan soil for its nefarious activities.

Referring to a tweet by an Indian namely Anirudh Kumar Mishra, he said it was evident from his tweet that India was involved in terrorism in Pakistan.

The committee also held a detailed discussion on the matter of action being taken against the Turk citizens living in Pakistan having valid and legal visas.

The matter was moved by the MQM Senator, Muhammad Ali Khan Saif, who said that Pakistan was a signatory to numerous international conventions, which provided for protection of all such foreigners residing legally in a state who had a fear of trial in their own country.

The senator said that it had been reported in the press that many Turks who had legal work permits had been deported without giving them due time to have a fair trial before deportation.

Minister for State Talal Chaudhry told the meeting that only those people had been deported who did not have any legal cover and if any such case had occurred it was not in the knowledge of the interior ministry.

The joint secretary from the ministry told the committee that 175 Turks had left the country on their own, while around 219 were currently residing in the country.

The mover was not satisfied with this answer and the chairman decided to defer the matter till the next meeting asking the interior ministry to provide details of any trial ongoing in court against Turk nationals and also to take up the matter with the Turkish government.

The meeting was given a briefing by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) regarding enquiries referred to the agency by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) against the cooperative housing societies, which have over-sold plots against non-available plots.

The FIA director told the meeting that action was currently being taken against Multi-Professional Cooperative Housing Society located in E-11, Pak Medical Cooperative Housing Society in E-11, and Jammu and Kashmir Cooperative Housing Society in G-15, and Soan Gardens Cooperative Housing Society located in Zone V.

The meeting asked the FIA to give details in the next meeting about what violations formed the basis of the FIRs against these societies and also decided to hear the CDA chairman on the matter in the next meeting.

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