PPP to ‘strongly’ oppose anti-terror law in Senate

Published April 9, 2014
The law grants sweeping powers of arrest and detention to Pakistan's already powerful security forces. – File photo
The law grants sweeping powers of arrest and detention to Pakistan's already powerful security forces. – File photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan peoples Party – the largest party in Senate has decided to oppose the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance (PPO) in the upcoming session of the upper house of Parliament scheduled to begin from April 14.

The bill was passed late on Monday amid protests from members of parliament and condemnation from international rights groups such as Amnesty International. The law grants sweeping powers of arrest and detention to Pakistan's already powerful security forces.

“The Pakistan Protection Ordinance is not meant to protect the country against militants rather it is a license to security agencies to continue kidnapping people and dumping bodies,” said Senator Farhatullah Babar in a formal statement issued on Wednesday.

“It is a devise to remove the inconvenience felt by law enforcers from being questioned by courts or Parliament in cases of enforced disappearances which will be strongly opposed in the Senate,” he added.

“The ordinance violates the fundamental rights and is a declaration of war against our international obligations under various UN conventions signed by Pakistan like the convention against torture and the convention for the protection of civil and political rights,” the PPP spokesperson said.

He said by making the so called confessions before police admissible in courts, the ordinance opens flood gates of torture in violation of the Pakistan’s obligations under the UN convention against torture.

“It is a recipe of making the matters worse in Balochistan, Karachi and elsewhere where the trigger happy law enforcers have already created havoc,” he remarked.

Opposition parties, lead by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), are planning to challenge the sweeping new anti-terror law in court.

“This law will turn Pakistan into a police state,” Shah Mehmood Qureshi, vice chairman of the PTI, told a news conference on Tuesday.

“We have decided to take this law to court and challenge its anti-human rights stance,” he added.

PPP, however, opposed moving the courts at this stage as it was within the domain of the Parliament to debate, modify or reject the law.

“It is unwise to take parliamentary battle to other forums and invite their interference in matters that falls within the domain of the Parliament alone,” said Senator Farhatullah Babar.

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