LAHORE: As a part of its efforts to curb terrorism and hunt down terrorists, the Punjab government on Thursday promulgated two ordinances -- one about security of all kinds of vulnerable establishments, including educational institutions, and another for keeping a record of tenants and temporary residents in hotels, guest houses or hostels.
The government is also working on other laws to evolve a legal mechanism to curb terrorism and extremism in any form.
The Punjab Security of Vulnerable Establishments Ordinance provides for the establishment of sub-division level security advisory committees by district coordination officers. Each committee will be headed by a DSP and comprise a representative of the district government, one each officer from the Special Branch of Police and the Counter Terrorism Department (all in BS-16 or above), and three representatives of traders and other stakeholders.
Committee’s functions will include identifying and recommending for notification the vulnerable establishments, inspect a vulnerable establishment, issue a written advice about the required security arrangements and report to the district police head in case of non-compliance.
The ordinance makes it mandatory for the manager of any vulnerable establishment to make appropriate and sufficient security arrangements within the time specified in the advice.
The local government or any other local authority will be required to ensure clearance of roads, streets from debris or construction material, manage filth depots on a daily basis, cover manholes and remove broken water pipelines to avert concealing of any explosive material.
The committee will issue a warning for non-compliance by any vulnerable establishment and can partially or completely seal it or suspend its operations till the needful is done.
The law provides for up to six-month imprisonment and a fine from Rs50,000 to Rs100,000 for its violation. The offence is cognisable and non-bailable.
The Punjab Information of Temporary Residents Ordinance makes it mandatory for a property dealer, landlord and a tenant to inform police about the tenant within 48 hours from the time of the delivery and possession of the rented premises through the fastest means of communication.
The owner or manager (of a hotel, rest house or hostel) is required to inform police about the guest within three hours from the time of his or her arrival or check in.
The law provides that a person, not being student or staff of an organisation or institution, shall not stay at a hostel exclusively managed and controlled by it without a prior written permission of the manager. Conveyance of the information about the person’s stay to police within three hours of the stay is also mandatory.
It makes it mandatory for a landlord, a manager or a property dealer to get satisfied with the identification of a tenant or a guest on the basis of the computerised national identity card or passport. Sending copies of the card and the passport to police at the earliest is another requirement.
The law makes it a duty of police to maintain a database of all such information, and clarifies that the information received under it shall not be used for any other purpose other than prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of offences of terrorism and those under the PPC.
The law authorises a police officer not below the rank of an SI to, after serving a reasonable notice, to inspect a rented premises, hostel or hotel and get information of the inmates.
It makes it obligatory on the landlord, manager and the property dealer to ensure that the tenant or guest does not possess or carry any unlicenced firearm or explosives, keep a record of the licenced weapons and convey the information to police.
Punishment for violating the law include up to six-month imprisonment and a fine from Rs10,000 to Rs100,000. The offence is cognisable and non-bailable.
Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2015