Senate panel approves controversial PPO

ISLAMABAD: Amid much criticism, the government on Wednesday managed to have passed by the Senate Standing Committee on Interior the controversial Pakistan Protection Amendment Bill-2014. The Senate committee, with Senator Talha Mahmood in the chair, unanimously approved the Protection of Pakistan Amendment Bill-2014 under which the authority to shoot miscreants or suspected person will rest with the officers of Grade-15 and above. Protection of Pakistan Amendment Bill would initially be enforced for two years. Briefing the committee Senator Zahid Hamid said that necessary measures have been taken to check the misuse of authority, such as the affected person could approach a high court against the sentence of special court.
Opposition parties have insisted that the shooting power should be given to Grade-17 and above officers only. Anti-Terrorism Amendment Bill, 2014 as passed by the National Assembly and further sent for amended by the senate Standing Committee of Interior and Narcotics Control. The bill aims to provide legal cover to joint interrogation Teams (JIT) and, enabling police to become complainants, protects witnesses from being publicly exposed. 
Senate Committee for Interior also took notice of tax and gas theft amounting to millions of rupees by a private company based in Multan. The committee was informed that the Fatima Fertiliser and its group of companies is involved in tax and gas theft amounting to Rs 500 million. Upon the instructions of the Sui Northern Gas Company Limited (SNGPL) the representatives of the company were arrested, who admitted to tax and gas theft of up to Rs 260 million. Talha Mahmood expressed concern over lack of investigation against Fatima Fertiliser. He ordered that he be briefed again on the issue in the next session of the committee with full investigation and conclusive reports.

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