Islamabad - Terming the Anti-terrorism Act (ATA) 1997 very powerful law to combat the menace of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, has urged the key players of administration of criminal justice system to read and examine this special law meticulously for its effective application so as to bring the perpetrators of terrorist acts to justice.

He expressed these views in the certificate awarding ceremony at the conclusion of a week-long national training of trainers’ workshop for judges, prosecutors and investigators on the global legal framework against terrorism and relevant criminal measures here at the Federal Judicial Academy, Islamabad on Saturday.

He said, “Anti-terrorism Act 1997 is a special law and it provides such tools to judges of anti-terrorism courts, prosecutors and investigators which are not available with the ordinary players of justice system. Those special tools are often overlooked by the judges, prosecutors and investigators. All of you are required to apply those special tools to effectively check the perpetrators of terrorist acts who have put peace at stake.”

Justice Isa said that ATA law is loud and clear that the media should not propagate the ideas of the banned organisations but the question was how many judges of the anti-terrorism courts have had applied the relevant section available in this special law. Stopping of the propagation of particular extremist/terrorist ideas was very important to combat the terrorism in the country.

“The laws and the constitution are the will of the people and those need to be respected. Judges only interpret the laws,” he observed. The judge also illuminated the learned participants with verses from the glorious Holy Quran, particularly, from Surah Mai’da, and Surah Nisa, regarding the sanctity of human life in Islam, unequivocal condemnation and painful punishment for terrorism and suicide bombing but it was unfortunate that nowadays terrorism was associated with the religion of Islam whose even greeting to each other what we say “As-Salaam-o- Alaikum,” has the meaning “peace be unto you” and its reply what we say “Wa Alaikum-o-Salam” carries the meaning “peace also be unto you.” This powerful message of our religion Islam has been corrupted. He said that intellectual terrorism was more dangerous because what was sown, the same was being reaped.       

Speaking on the occasion, UNODC Representative Cesar Guedes said that the scourge of terrorism continued to pose threat to global peace; it has caused a colossal loss to different countries and also undermined the socioeconomic development. Elimination of terrorism and building of peace was essential for a peaceful world and socioeconomic development in it.

Guedes expressed his unflinching commitment to strengthen partnership with the FJA with more such like quality capacity-building programmes in the future.

Presenting his welcome speech and an overview of this unique workshop comprising judges, prosecutors and investigators, Dr Faqir Hussain, DG of the Academy spoke at length about the right to a fair trial, due process of law, procedural safeguards in cases of arrest and detention, fundamental human rights, international law, UN conventions, legal instruments, etc. He said that the main purpose behind all international laws and domestic laws was dispensation of justice in accordance with the due process of law.