Senate wants ban on YouTube lifted

* Demands stringent legislation and strong steps against cannibalism

ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel on Monday unanimously passed a resolution to lift the ban on video-sharing website YouTube and also adopted another resolution against incidents of cannibalism in the country and for stringent legislation against this menace.
The meeting of the Senate’s Functional Committee on Human Rights, chaired by Senator Afrasiab Khattak, decided to raise the YouTube ban. “The ban on the website is of no use,” the committee members opined. The committee also took notice of cannibalism in the country on the request of Senator Sahar Kamran and recommended strong steps against this crime. Unanimously adopting a resolution against the menace, the committee observed that punishment against this crime should be made more severe to prevent its recurrence. 
“We demand the government carry out necessary legislation against this crime,” the committee members urged. The committee showed serious concern over operations under the Pakistan Protection Ordinance (PPO) in Sindh as well as in Punjab by saying that all the opposition parties and human rights groups have rejected the “draconian law”. Pakistan People’s Party’s Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the PPO permits security forces to commit extra-judicial killings, a grave violation of human rights. 
Senator Nasreen Jalil showed distrust in the figures presented by the Sindh and Punjab police regarding the police encounters, and said that 45 workers of the MQM are missing and their details have been provided to the Sindh special home secretary. Punjab additional home secretary told the committee that the provincial government has been undertaking the registration of kilns in the province to check the exploitation of labourers there. “So far 53,000 kilns have been registered where 150,000 people are working,” he said.
The committee also showed concern over growing violence against the journalists in the country when the assassination attempt on Hamid Mir was raised in the meeting. The government should take measures to protect the lives of the journalists, the committee suggested, saying that the attack on Hamid Mir brought a bad name to the country globally. It termed the attack an aggression against the freedom of press and called for arresting the culprits.
Sahar Kamran noted that allegations against the intelligence agencies after the attack on Hamid Mir should be verified and a transparent inquiry should be conducted to bring fore the truth. Chairman Khattak felt that the government should formulate a comprehensive anti-terrorism policy to fight against this menace. The committee also sought proposals from the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights to control the rising crimes against womenfolk, like vanni, sehra, karokari, etc.
Annoyed over the absence of minister for human rights and the ministry’s secretary, the committee decided to write a letter to the prime minister against their “uncooperative attitude”. Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed presented a report of the sub-committee of the Human Rights Standing Committee and informed that for the first time the environmental impact of changing weather patterns have been included in the human rights category. 

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