Legislators oppose anti-terrorism, power theft laws


ISLAMABAD: The legislators in the Upper House of parliament on Tuesday strongly opposed the Anti-Terrorism Bill 2014, through which the government has sought more power for the law enforcement agencies to deal with terrorists affectively.
The Senate Standing Committee on Interior also opposed the Criminal Law (amendment) Bill 2014, which relates to power theft and seeks more power for power distribution companies and enhanced punishment to the power theft consumers. Introducing the Anti-Terrorism Bill, Additional Secretary Interior Hamid Ali Khan told the committee as the militancy badly affected the country. The government plans proper legislation in this regard and to give more power to law enforcement agencies. Special provision granted to police particularly dealing with extortion cases and through this law, transfer of cases from area to another part of the country would be possible under this law, he maintained.
Senator Tahir Mashhadi said that for real terrorists the government is negotiating peace talks, while for the general public it is proposing tough laws. He also strongly opposed the detention period of an accused for 90 days from current 30 days. The senator apprehended that this law may be used against politicians for political revenge. Opposing the law, the PPP Senator Sardar Ali Khan said in presence of us this law will not be passed, which is totally against the public interest.
Interior State Minister Balighur Rehman told the committee that any work done for good intention will yield good result. The law does not mean to shoot every one while empowering the law enforcement agencies personnel. Official of Law Division was of the view that the anti-terrorism law bringing back some sections of 1860 Law, which was changed in 1997 anti-terrorism law.
Chairman of the Committee Talha Mehmood directed the ministry of interior to present a comparative statement of the new law, and also bring more detail in next meeting. The committee will consider and find out a way to resolve the issue subject to removal of observations of the senators. He also directed Additional Director General FIA Liaqat Ali Khan to check the involvement of a FIA Inspector Alamdar, who took Rs8 million from former CDA Chairman Farkhand Iqbal and also demanded more from him. He also asked ministry of interior to check that some foreign women have got CNIC of NADRA.
The committee formed a sub-committee under Sardar Ali Khan as convener and Tahir Hussain Mashhadi and Najma Hameed as members to properly check the law (Criminal Law {Amendment} 2014 to tougher law against power theft. The committee informed that 23000 power theft cases registered but only three were convicted due to absence of proper law.
But Sardar Ali Khan, Mohammad Yousaf and Tahir Mashhaid were of the view that officials of power distribution companies are involved in power theft and why the poor consumers are confronting more problems. This law will make more powerful the local officials of power companies and would demanded more for local people. They suggested that there should be a proper recovery mechanism like the mobile companies have adopted, which will not required strong law. The meter readers and other local power distribution officials incentivise people to carry out power thefts, therefore, they need proper attention.
Chairman of the committee Talha Mehmood strongly reacted over a letter written by the ministry of interior in which they wrote some derogatory remarks towards the committee and its members. The letter revealed that there should be one meeting in two months, further claiming that it all done on behest of federal interior minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan. He claimed Khan stopped top officials of interior minister for attending the senate committee. Neither Nisar nor secretary bothers to attend the meeting, which he said bad omen for democracy. Ch Nisar is going on to make history while ridicule the parliament and committee, he added.

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