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Tuesday January 31, 2023

‘US withdrawal boosted TTP activities in Pakistan’

National Counter Terrorism Authority informs Senate committee US withdrawal boosted TTP activities with its base in Afghanistan still intact

December 09, 2022
Taliban fighters sit over a vehicle in this file photo. — AFP
Taliban fighters sit over a vehicle in this file photo. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Interior on Thursday passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2022 unanimously with punishment for child pornography not less than three years and up to 14 years as per the severity of the offence after adopting new recommendations as discussed in the meeting.

The bill passed by the National Assembly was laid in the Senate by Senator Rubina Khalid.

The objective of the bill is to take cognisance of the rise in cases of sexual exploitation and cybercrime against children in the light of constitutional and international commitments of the government.

The bill was passed unanimously, with punishment for child pornography not less than three years and up to 14 years as per the severity of the offence.

The meeting of the Senate Committee on Interior was held under the chairmanship of Senator Moshin Aziz and was attended by senators Rubina Khalid, Maula Bux Chandio, Rana Maqbool Ahmed, Faisal Saleem Rehman, Kamil Ali Agha, Seemee Ezdi and Dilawar Khan, while the secretary of the Ministry of Interior and other senior relevant officers were also in attendance. The matter of public importance raised by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed regarding the worsening law and order in Swat was also taken up.

The National Counter Terrorism Authority in Islamabad informed the committee that the US withdrawal had boosted TTP activities with its base in Afghanistan still intact and that the terrorism index had risen.

The Senate Committee on the Interior was briefed that during the peace talks process, the TTP gained considerable ground and increased its footprint and magnitude of activities.

It was also noted that strong public opposition to returning to Swat is a positive development.

The committee was briefed that the locals, especially the political leadership active against the militants, needed to be supported and protected through the institutional mechanism.

It was briefed that the traditional routes of the militants have also been tracked and cleared, and 18 extra police forces are being deployed.

The committee was briefed that Peace Jeep rallies also patrolled in the area; these steps have increased the flow of tourists.

The committee was also informed that militants have been dispersed as a result of the joint operation of SFS and LEAs. Any morphing in the local population in adjoining areas needs to be monitored; furthermore, the presence of militants signifies resident facilitation in the area, which needs to be countered through the collective efforts of security apparatus.

It was also discussed that owing to winters and a lack of support structures and logistics, militants are likely to move from mountainous regions.

The committee advised that further discussion on specific areas in terms of security should be discussed during in-camera sessions.

The Senate Committee on Interior deferred the Provincial Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2022, introduced by Senator Seemee Ezdi.

After careful consideration, the committee determined that obtaining a certificate of fitness on motor vehicles of all types, as well as the conditions contained in the bill, would bring traffic to a halt. Thus, the committee decided that the ministry should make a way forward and more practical methods for testing the satisfactory condition of vehicles should be devised.

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