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Opposition parties sceptical about draft law to ‘revive’ Police Order

Updated May 14, 2019

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Demand minutes of the meeting of a select committee tasked to revive the 2002 law. — APP/File
Demand minutes of the meeting of a select committee tasked to revive the 2002 law. — APP/File

KARACHI: Opposition parties in the Sindh Assembly have complained that the convener of a select committee set up to examine the revival of the Police Order, 2002, had not handed them minutes of the previous meetings and that the proposed draft was a “new law” instead of the original legislation.

Opposition Leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi said he presided over a meeting of the representatives of three major opposition parties in the provincial legislature — Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and Grand Democratic Alliance — and they expressed their dismay over not being given minutes of the previous meetings of the select committee.

PTI’s Haleem Adil Shaikh, MQM-P’s Mohammad Hussain and Khwaja Izharul Hasan and GDA’s Shaharyar Khan Maher attended the meeting in which they decided to demand the minutes in addition to the updated version of the Police Order, 2002.

“We have observed that editing has been done in the original document [of Police Order, 2002] beyond the titles of the positions,” said Mr Naqvi.

Demand minutes of the meeting of a select committee tasked to revive the 2002 law

Besides, they also demanded the copies of the Sindh High Court’s judgement in what is commonly known as A.D. Khowaja case, Supreme Court’s judgement and rules framed by the former inspector general of police in “pursuing SHC’s directions”.

‘Draft law is distorted version of original Police Order’

PTI’s parliamentary party leader Shaikh, meanwhile, expressed his reservations over the changes in the new draft that he believed was “different” compared to the original 2002 law.

In a letter to Agriculture Minister Ismail Rahu, the convener of the select committee, Mr Shaikh said the title of the bill created an impression that it was about the revival of the Police Order, which factually was not the case.

“The very act of revival of a federal law to repeal and replace a provincial statute is to concede the jurisdiction of the federal government in that area. Thus such a law has to be revived in its original form.”

He said under Article 184 of the Police Order, the provincial assembly could make minor changes to suit local needs. However, “it is surprising to notice that the proposed draft is not the original Police Order 2002. It is a new law and it cannot be called revival of an existing federal law”, he added.

“We must achieve clarity on the issue whether we are reviving a federal law or enacting a new provincial law,” he stated.

The PTI’s parliamentary leader said the draft law was not the Police Order as it stood on July 13, 2011.

He said the bill sought to revive the Police Order but a careful reading of the draft indicated that it contained amendments, which were made from 2002 to 2009. Those amendments were made through ordinances which were not extended or validated, thus, the amendments turned invalid in 2009.

“Any reference to the Police Order after 2009 will be deemed to have been reverted to its original form as it was in 2002 as the amendments lost validity.”

The PTI leader said if the Sindh Assembly was reviving the Police Order 2002 as it stood on July 13, 2011 it should revive the original Police Order 2002 without any amendments, except those necessitated by the judgements of the superior courts.

“The draft law is a distorted version of the original Police Order 2002. The major amendments have altered its spirit, which will be illegal and subject to challenges in the court of law. It will be very difficult, rather impossible, for the Sindh government to defend its move of reviving Police Order 2002, a federal law, with major amendments.”

Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2019