ISLAMABAD: Following opposition to the proposed National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta) amendment bill by the interior ministry, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior Rehman Malik on Thursday formed a one-man subcommittee to look into the bill and present suggestions.

The committee discussed various aspects of the bill moved by Senator Ateeq Ahmad Shaikh but the interior ministry opposed the proposed amendments. The chairman then appointed Senator Javed Abbasi of the PML-N to come up with suggestions.

Earlier, briefing the committee on features of the bill, Senator Mian Mohammad Ateeq Shaikh said Nacta was mandated to devise a counter-terrorism strategy that should address short, medium and long-term goals and devise action plans for their implementation.

“Nacta should lay its periodical reports in parliament so that public representatives may also oversee them and formulate pragmatic proposals for the government. Nacta should coordinate with all provincial departments in countering terrorism. Police stations which are the basic unit of law enforcement in Pakistan should be given the mission and resources to combat terrorism starting from local level,” he remarked.

Senate body forms subcommittee to come up with suggestions

The committee also considered “The Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2019” moved by Senator Azam Swati on behalf of the interior minister in the house on Sept 3.

The Ministry of Interior briefed the committee on the purposes and objectives of the bill. However, the committee expressed its concern on the applicability of the bill saying there was sufficient ambiguity on the manner for implementation of the proposed law.

The chairman of the committee observed that this might cause a discrimination while dealing with different individuals with same crime, one being in the country and other being extradited from abroad.

After deliberation on the bill, the chairman directed that the secretary law and justice and the attorney general should brief the committee on the bill in its next meeting. The committee also considered “The Islamabad Pure Food Authority Bill 2019” introduced by Senator Sajjad Hussain Turi in the house on Sept 2, 2019. However, the bill was deferred on the request of the mover.

The committee unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the unethical, immoral and inhumane statement of a senior retired Indian army officer and leader of BJP Maj General SP Sinha justifying the rape of women in Indian occupied Kashmir.

The committee demanded the government register a protest in UNSC against the statement.

The chairman informed the committee that a letter had been written to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi urging him to file a law suit in International Court of Justice (ICJ) and International Criminal Court (ICC) against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his accomplices for their crimes against humanity in occupied Kashmir. The committee also expressed dismay over the alarming increase in child abuse incidents across the country.

The chairman directed the interior secretary to introduce a law suggesting more stringent punishment for those who commit such heinous crimes.

He referred to the alleged sexual assault and murder of a five-year-old girl in Kurram Agency and directed the relevant officials to take immediate steps to apprehend those responsible.

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2019