ISLAMABAD: A Senate committee on Thursday sought a report on a recent anti-encroachment operation conducted by the Rawalpindi district administration during which the wall of a PML-N senator’s house was razed.
The Rawalpindi administration claimed that they conducted the operation to retrieve state land. But the senator’s family alleged that the operation was a part of political victimisation.
The operation on the PML-N senator’s house was raised in the Senate by Senator Mohammad Javed Abbasi on Jan 6. The chairman referred the matter to the Senate Standing Committee on Interior.
Presided over by Senator Rehman Malik, the committee at a meeting constituted a subcommittee headed by Senator Rana Maqbool with two members to investigate the matter and submit a report within two weeks.
The committee chairman directed the deputy commissioner Rawalpindi and other officials to halt all kinds of actions and operations till the submission of the report.
The committee deferred discussion on Mutual Legal Assistance (Criminal Matters) Bill 2020.
The bill was introduced by Minister for Parliamentary Affairs on behalf of the interior minister.
The committee chairman said he had studied the whole bill and observed that a comprehensive report should be provided by the Ministry of Law and Justice. He asked for the detail of all legal treaties signed by Pakistan with various countries. He said this was a general mutual assistance treaty being issued in terms of offering unsolicited help and support to another country.
He said what was the assurance if the bill could not be used by any friendly or hostile government to ask for relevant data or information about an individual, including anyone related to national security. If so, what safeguards are there to handle it?
The chairman asked whether it was a fact that through this bill “we are exposing our entire data to the world and we will have no reasonable excuse to refuse them.”
He said when he was the minister for interior, similar requests to provide data were received from USA and some Arab countries which he had regretted in 2013.
He asked whether the extradition treaties signed by Pakistan with other countries will be affected or not by this bill? He feared that once the bill was passed by parliament, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will open a Pandora’s box to extract data from Pakistan and any refusal will create a bone of contention and friction with the world forums.
Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2020