Sunday November 27, 2022

ATA, Protection of Pakistan Act to be combined

By our correspondents
December 29, 2016

Military courts to become permanent to hear terrorism cases

ISLAMABAD: The Interior Ministry has decided to combine the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) with the Protection of Pakistan Act (PPA) and the new law in this regard has been drafted.

The decision was made in a meeting of the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Interior on Wednesday. After approval by the interior minister, the draft law will be put before parliament.

The draft covers the issue of military courts. Military courts are to expire on January 7 and all under-trial cases will be transferred to the anti-terrorism courts. At present, 120 cases are being heard in military courts, which had received 300 cases overall.

Under the new law, military courts will become permanent and terrorism cases will be sent to them. MQM’s Mujahid Baloch wanted to say something during the meeting but he was stopped by committee chairman Rana Shamim. It led to an altercation between the two.

The committee passed the Illegal Dispossession (Amendment) Bill-2016, under which land grabbers would face imprisonment up to three years or fine, or both.

Under a section of the bill, “Whoever forcibly and wrongfully dispossesses any owner or occupier of any property and his act does not fall within sub-section (1), shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years or with fine or with both, in addition to any other punishment to which he may be liable under any other law for the time being in force. The person dispossessed shall also be compensated in accordance with provisions of section 544A of the Code.”

The committee also constituted a sub-committee under the chair of Syed Javed Ali Shah to consider all private member bills pending before the main body, which would submit its report within 30 days.

The body confirmed the minutes of its previous meeting held on October 27 with majority, while Salman Baloch submitted a dissenting note in this regard.

The committee also discussed matters pertaining to approval of Arms Licences to Members of National Assembly (MNAs) and the general public. The Secretary Interior apprised the body that recommendations were being prepared in this regard, which would be finalised by end of January 2017.

Among others, the meeting was attended by Syed Javed Ali Shah, Ghalib Khan, Sheikh Muhammad Akram, Syed Iftikhar-ul-Hassan, Mian Shahid Hussain Khan Bhatti, Salman Khan Baloch, Naeema Kishwer Khan, Sher Akber Khan, Kishwer Zehra, Asiya Nasir and Surriya Asghar, besides senior officers of the ministries of Interior and Narcotics Control and Law and Justice.

The committee took up ten different government and private members bills, some of them were approved. Committee also discussed issue of approval of arms licences to Members of National Assembly (MNA) and general public. Secretary interior apprised the committee that recommendations had been prepared in this regard, which will be finalised by the end of next month.