A view of the National Assembly. — File photo
A view of the National Assembly. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Wednesday passed the Protection of Pakistan Bill 2014 which permits security forces to shoot suspects on sight with the permission of a grade-15 official.

The religio-political parties including Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam - Fazl and Jamaat-i-Islami opposed the bill in the National Assembly.

Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid moved the bill in the National Assembly on behalf of Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

The Protection of Pakistan Bill which seeks “to provide for protection against waging of war against Pakistan and the prevention of acts threatening the security of Pakistan” will provide the law enforcers with additional powers.

Zahid Hamid told the National Assembly that the government has taken on board all the leaders of parliamentary parties in order to get their recommendations regarding the bill.

He said that the government had already included the recommendations of the opposition parties before passing the bill from the Upper House.

Hamid also appreciated the role of parliamentary leaders from all the political parties in the parliament who gave their suggestions in this regard.

The Minister said that the Senate had already passed the bill on Monday while it is very necessary to pass the bill in the National assembly as well to counter the activities of terrorists across the country.

“It will send a message that the government stands with the military in the operation against terrorists in FATA,” he said.

Later, Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Farooq Sattar said that the Pakistan Protection Ordinance (PPO) was necessary for national security, adding that his party leadership believes in the presence of a strict law to counter terrorism across the country.

He said that there were concerns from Opposition on the PPO but the government tried to remove them before its approval from the Senate.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that his party leadership has concerns regarding the PPO but the PTI supports the security forces at all cost.

“The interior minister did not give any importance to the National Assembly while it was necessary that he should be present in the National Assembly to move the bill today,” he added.


Salient features of the Protection of Pakistan Bill 2014:


It defines “enemy alien” as “a militant” whose identity “is unascertainable as a Pakistani, in the locality where he has been arrested or in the locality where he claims to be residing, whether by documentary or oral evidence; or who has been deprived of his citizenship by naturalisation”.

The bill defines “militant” as “any person who wages war or insurrection against Pakistan, or raises arms against Pakistan, its citizens, the armed forces or civil armed forces; or takes up advocates or encourages or aids or abets the raising of arms or waging of war or a violent struggle against Pakistan; or threatens or acts or attempts to act in a manner prejudicial to the security, integrity or defence of Pakistan; or commits or threatens to commit any scheduled offence; and includes; a person who commits any act outside the territory of Pakistan for which he has used the soil of Pakistan for preparing to commit such act that constitutes scheduled offence under this act”.

“Any person against whom there are reasonable grounds that he acts under the directions or in concert or conspiracy with or in furtherance of the designs of an enemy alien” will also be treated as a militant.

The law has given the powers to law-enforcement agencies to “enter and search, without warrant any premises to make any arrest of to take possession of any firearm, explosive weapon, vehicle, instrument or article used, or likely to be used and capable of being used, in the commission of any scheduled offence”.

However, it says that “after the search, the circumstances justifying it and the items recovered shall be reported within two days to special judicial magistrate of the area by the officer conducting the search”.

According to the law, the order to shoot a person on suspicion will come only from an official of a law-enforcement agency or a police officer of grade-15 or above. Moreover, it binds the government to order a judicial inquiry, if any law-enforcement agency official opens fire on suspected terrorists.

Under the law, convicted persons will have the right to appeal before a high court against their convictions. Earlier, a convicted person had only the right to appeal before the Supreme Court.

A clause in the bill says: “The government, joint investigation team, armed forces or civil armed forces may, in the interest of the security of their personnel or for the safety of the detainee or accused or intern, as the case may be, or for any other reasonable cause withhold the information except from a high court or the Supreme Court regarding the location of the detainee or accused or intern or internment centre established or information with respect to any detainee or accused or interne or his whereabouts; provided that the judge or judges to whom the disclosure is made may decide to treat it as privileged information in the public interest; and the government may not in the interest of the security of Pakistan disclose the grounds for detention or divulge any information relating to a detainee, accused or interne who is an enemy alien or a militant.”

It further says: “Any person apprehended in the course of preparation, attempt or commission of a scheduled offence and from whom any weapon, material, vehicle, article or instrument designed for or capable of being used to commit or to facilitate the commission of the offence of bombing, suicide bombing or target killing or grievous hurt shall be presumed to be guilty of preparation, attempt or commission, as the case may be, of a scheduled offence.”

Giving “explanation”, the law states: “A cellphone or other instrument that contains logs or evidence of calls or messages made or received that facilitate the preparation, attempt or commission of such an offence, shall be deemed to be such an instrument and any record thereon or therein shall be admissible in evidence.”


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Comments (25) (Closed)


Purush
Jul 02, 2014 12:55pm

The real test of the govt. will power and effectiveness of the bill will be if Sayed Hafiz is booked under it and convicted.

Abdul
Jul 02, 2014 02:22pm

Court will strike this down. Violate fundamental rights.

Waqar Khan
Jul 02, 2014 02:50pm

@Abdul how will Court Strike it down, if it's passed by the Law making body of the government, and it's signed into the law? The Court can only strike orders that don't follow the law, such a PM order or perhaps a Governor order to have something done, but its contradicts with the Statue of either the States or The Federal Law.

A.A.Qureshi
Jul 02, 2014 02:56pm

This is good, strict actions under proper law will counter terrorism and control law and order position.

Rashid Minhas
Jul 02, 2014 02:57pm

Protection of Pakistan Bill 2014 unanimously approved in NA But the Nation really even don’t know what is PPB? Its seems it forcefully approved as short term policy for the protection of certain institutes. Out of 19 million Nationals, how many does know about PPB and its implications on their freedom of expression and voice of justice? STOP misusing the name of Nation, National interest and National security for once self-interest, security and gain of power.

Salik
Jul 02, 2014 03:57pm

We are well under way to becoming a police state.

M. Siddique
Jul 02, 2014 04:12pm

Who will enforce the law? Police, which stood by and cheered when that fellow Gullu was smashing cars and Police did not raise a finger to protect citizen's property? Laws are as good as the implementation of those.

M. Siddique
Jul 02, 2014 04:13pm

@Waqar Khan, any law which violates the guarantees in the constitution can be struck down. Remember Constitution is supposed to be the supreme law of the land.

Rizwan
Jul 02, 2014 04:58pm

its not good.... u you never talked about Civil rights...it is inhuman..i can not find truth behind any order and killing .. its inhuman i must say.

M J Syed
Jul 02, 2014 05:01pm

A desperate remedy for a desperate situation? We already have enough laws to deal with violent behavior and terrorism. Nation will regret this law. Legal murders will happen. Such an important bill should have been debated freely and openly for a long time before making it a law.

Najam
Jul 02, 2014 05:22pm

Congratulations Pakistan

Yasir
Jul 02, 2014 05:52pm

Although I am in favor of this bill, the root of the problem is lack of strict enforcement of the laws, not lack of strict laws. It is time to focus on implementation of laws without any compromise.

Also, there are risks involved regarding misuse of this bill. Power comes with more challenges and therefore, law makers must monitor and control the overwhelming power, given by this bill, to law enforcement agencies; to avert abusing the power and maintain the check and balance in the system.

Aurang
Jul 02, 2014 05:58pm

@Najam of what, getting killed by the state ?

Aurang
Jul 02, 2014 05:59pm

I won't make the country safe but more insecure for civilians like me!

Nizamuddin Ahmad Aali
Jul 02, 2014 07:06pm

Complaint from the general public should also considered a valid lead, about a person or a group of people in neighborhood. People with suspicious activities and association also be reported to police.

malick
Jul 02, 2014 08:50pm

Good for countering terrorism. not to practice on political rivals.

Abbas
Jul 02, 2014 09:31pm

Anyone who prevents education in the country for all, makes or buys acid should be added to the targeted list.

uxman
Jul 02, 2014 09:46pm

@Aurang then what would make the country safe , having mercy on terrorists and criminals and set them free??

Fazal Karim
Jul 02, 2014 10:15pm

The bill falls short so far it does not cover measures and weaknesses in prosecution and swift conviction of militants. there should be modification in existing laws to deal with menace of street crime because because of the absence of deterrent of such crime leads to bigger crimes and murders.If a person resists looting he genarally shot dead.

Omer
Jul 02, 2014 10:51pm

@Purush Hafiz Saeed has never waged a war against the state, he is not a militant by any definition of this bill.

Far sight
Jul 03, 2014 03:19am

"commits or threatens to commit any scheduled offence; and includes; a person who commits any act outside the territory of Pakistan for which he has used the soil of Pakistan for preparing to commit such act" Under this law Hafiz Saeed must be arrested then.

Far sight
Jul 03, 2014 03:23am

@Waqar Khan Supreme Court can declare a law as null and void if it is unconstitutional in nature(in India and I think it should be same for Pakistan).

someone
Jul 03, 2014 06:59am

Congrats pkaistan. Just ensure to kill Fazullah. And please people stop accsuing simple personnel like Hafiz Sayed. He is innocent,

muhammad saqlain
Jul 03, 2014 10:06am

After the enforcement of Pakistan Protection Bill Pakistan will become a police state...more than ninety percent people of Pakistan don't know about this new Bill...powers are transfer to some people just.

hawk
Jul 05, 2014 04:34pm

@Purush who is Sayed Hafiz O_o