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Photo shows Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chairing a session of the federal cabinet at the PM Secretariat in Islamabad.—APP/File Photo
Photo shows Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chairing a session of the federal cabinet at the PM Secretariat in Islamabad.—APP/File Photo
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.—File Photo
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s federal cabinet on Friday approved a draft of amendments to anti-terrorism laws in an effort to further empowering law enforcement agencies for better handling of terror-related cases

Federal minister Zahid Hamid presented the draft amendments in the session of federal cabinet which was chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The draft bill, which will later be presented before the Parliament for approval, is aimed at curbing the menace of terrorism and giving special powers to security forces. It also provides ensuring protection of witnesses in terrorism cases.

The draft amendment bill includes recommendations of the Cabinet committee formed on September 04, 2013 meeting of the federal cabinet at Karachi.

The Committee was headed by Federal Minister Zahid Hamid and comprised Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Kh. Zaheer Ahmed, Prosecutor General Sindh and Senator Farogh Naseem.

The draft bill provides for law enforcing agencies the powers of preventive detention up to three months for any person concerned in any offence under the Anti-Terrorism Act relating to security or defence of Pakistan, public order relating to target killing, kidnapping for ransom and extortion.

The draft amendment also provides for protection of witnesses, judges and prosecutors.

The measures also include: using screens to shield witnesses, judges and prosecutors from public view; trial in jail premises or through video link; investigation and trial in another province and ensuring no access to mobile phones for prisoners in jail.

The proposed bill further includes measures for expeditious disposal of cases and to avoid unnecessary delays in the courts.

The meeting recommended inclusion in the proposed bill that Rangers after prior warning as considered necessary against persons committing a terrorist or scheduled offence would be authorised to shoot or order to shoot before they are fired upon as provided under the existing law.

Emphasising on the law and order situation prevailing in Karachi, the Prime Minister said that it is the responsibility of the Government to provide security of life and property to all citizens of the country.

He said that the situation in Karachi calls for strict measures in order to restore peace in the commercial hub of the country. He observed that the ongoing Karachi operation has brought good results and that the common man has expressed satisfaction over the improvement of law and order situation.

The prime minister also asked the federal government to extend all possible cooperation to Sindh government to improve law and order situation in the country’s business hub.

Comments (12) Closed

Mashman Sep 20, 2013 04:37pm

Its a good sign that anti-terror laws have been proposed. Laws to curb street crime such as mobile snatching should also be proposed and enacted. Now Hospital(Al-Shifa Islamabad) management are also involved in stealing mobile phones of patients. My sons mobile phone was stolen under his nose from Al-Shifa Hospital. Complaint to the management produced no results. Now you can imagine the state of the land of pure

Aftab Kenneth Wilson Sep 20, 2013 05:38pm

Keeping in view the corrupt mindset and greediness prevailing inside our law enforcing agencies I hope this new bill will not be misused and some check will be maintained when ever someone gets caught or killed. If all goes in a fair manner then kudos to the new government.

Amjad Wyne Sep 20, 2013 07:23pm

Good, thank you. If it is what it sounds like then this is a good news. Please add that anyone other than security personnel found to carry, store, hide, protect or brandish weapons, ammunition or drugs within the structures and spaces designated for religious services, education, health or public use will be treated as terrorists.

Anees Sep 20, 2013 07:22pm

To hell with laws. Come up with something practical..

AHMAD Sep 20, 2013 07:58pm

There should be more strict amendments in anti terrorism bill.

keeping any type of WEAPONS without license should also be the part of the Bill.


we have to concentrate on Borders and harbors to control weapons expansion.

M. Ahmed Sep 20, 2013 08:25pm

After years killing of innocent people lawmakers seem to be doing something they should have done long ago. It remain to be seen of this law will be approved and enforced.

Irfan Sep 20, 2013 08:28pm

While I appreciate the sentiment of the article, I disapprove of certain choices of words, for example the use of the phrase "common man". The PMs job is not to rule the "common man", but instead to serve the citizens. Perhaps "citizens of Karachi" would have been a more democratic choice of word in this case ...

Rai Siddique Akbar Sep 20, 2013 09:21pm

security should also be provided to prosecutors working in sessions court so that they may prosecute cases boldly and without any apprehension.

pathanoo Sep 20, 2013 09:38pm

OK. So, we now have the Bill. But who is going to implement it? Same old same old? Are there any penalties or terminations for officers responsible who do not do there duty? Are there any milestones? Any Targets? Any Group or individuals identified?

Syed Sep 20, 2013 10:46pm

These are good steps which should have been taken long back. How witnesses will be protected is not clear. To bring back confidence of police, no killer should be allowed to scape, no matter how much time and money it costs. Criminals should know that committing crime caries great risk. Even if they are not caught immediately, they will have to remain in hiding for the rest of their life. We should be thankful to Supreme Court for ordering arrest of Wali khan Babars killer as well as killers of witnesses in this case. Also killers of police officers involved in 1993 and 1996 cleansing in Sindh should be brought to justice. To boost morale of police immediate family members of shaheed officers should be paid at least Rs fifty lacs each. As part of witnesses protection plan families of witnesses killed should be paid at least Rs sixty lacs. This will motivate witnesses to be bold and take risk. Our ulmas should come on TV and explain importance and obligation of every muslim not to hide evidence.If they are killed in this process they should be considered shaheed.

muzammil ullah khan Sep 20, 2013 11:01pm

A sensible decision.

truth Sep 21, 2013 12:27pm

Plz PLZ PLZ forgod's sake save karachi stop street crime and acts of terror stop ransom the leaders of this contry you have to answer to god remember the day of judgment