ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Wednesday approved the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2012, which envisages strengthening of provisions in terms of freezing, seizing and forfeiture of property for the offence of terrorism financing to ensure that funding sources in such offences are detected and due process of law allowed to unfold.
The cabinet also approved three other bills, with one of them enumerating the offences of dishonest abstraction, illegal interference or tampering with transmission and distribution power systems, envisaging rigorous imprisonment as punishment. The cabinet also approved the initiation of two memorandums of understanding (MoU) on disaster management with Turkey and Sri Lanka while the report of a committee examining the issue of seats for the non-Muslims in the legislature was also considered.
The Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2012 provides for addressing shortcomings relating to terrorism financing provisions in the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. The bill particularly strengthens provisions creating the offence of terrorism financing, covering all aspects of the offence in the light of international standards and provides for more effective measures for law-enforcement agencies to investigate the offences.
The cabinet also considered the Investigation for Fair Trial Bill 2012 and approved it with certain amendments. The bill provides for investigations to collect evidence by means of modern techniques and devices for preventing and effectively dealing with scheduled offences, regulating the powers of law-enforcement and intelligence agencies and preventing them from arbitrarily using their powers. “It was necessary to regulate the said powers and provide for their permissible and fair uses in accordance with law and under proper executive and judicial oversight keeping in view Article 10A of the Constitution.”
The bill will also provide for admissibility and use of material collected during investigation under the present law in judicial proceedings and all other legal proceedings or processes to ensure fair trial.
The cabinet also approved a bill on Offences and Penalties Relating to Electricity Amendments in the PPC, CrPC and Electricity Act 1910. The Ministry of Water and Power is faced with a situation whereby bill recovery by distribution companies is insufficient and inadequate to meet the cost of generated electricity. As a result, the government has to provide subsidy, especially to distribution companies where leakages, pilferages and theft are rampant. Primarily, this phenomenon emanates from a fragile legal and enforcement structure.
Meanwhile, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2012 enumerates offences of dishonest abstraction, illegal interference or tampering with transmission and distribution power systems with penalty of rigorous imprisonment, which may extend to three years, and fine, which may extend to Rs10 million for transmission offences, and two years and Rs3 million, respectively, for distribution offences.
Similarly, offences against improper use, interference or tampering with electric metres by domestic, industrial, commercial and agricultural consumers have been included. The penalties for such offences may extend to one-year imprisonment or fine which may extend to Rs1 million or both in case of domestic consumers, and three-year imprisonment or fine which may extend to Rs6 million or both in case of industrial, commercial and agricultural consumers.
Moreover, offences for damaging, destroying or destructing transmission lines, distribution lines or electric metres have been specified with punishment of up to seven-year imprisonment and with fine which shall not be less than Rs3 million.
The cabinet also approved the initiation of negotiations on a bilateral MoU on disaster management between Turkey and the National Disaster Management Authority of Pakistan. The cabinet also approved the initiation of negotiations on an MoU on disaster management between the Sri Lankan government and National Disaster Management Authority Pakistan.
The cabinet also considered the report of the committee examining the issue of extra seats for the non-Muslims in the legislature. The cabinet members made a number of proposals and it was decided that the committee would present its final report to the cabinet in the light of recommendations made by the cabinet members.