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December 29, 2017

Senate body dissatisfied with probe into Noorani attack


December 29, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Senate’s Committee on Interior and former Interior Minister Rehman Malik Wednesday directed the IG Police Islamabad to come to the next in-camera meeting of the committee about investigation report of attack on senior journalist Ahmad Noorani with preparation.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Minister of State for Interior Talal Chaudhry will also attend the next meeting.

Ahmad Noorani suspected that attackers were the students of Madaris while the police claimed that it was in a closed street with regard to investigations. “Jang Group was also serious to take the case to the logical end and it had also written a letter to police for updating the progress on investigations. As per our information, police have not yet contacted the IB to seek their assistance,” he told the committee.

He said some people tried to turn the episode into a personal scandal and efforts were even made to get information about his bank account.

IG Police Islamabad Dr Sultan Azam Taimoori assured that investigations would be taken to logical end.

SSP Operations Sajid Kiyani briefed the committee on police investigations on which Senators Shibli Faraz, Col (R) Tahir Mashhadi, Shahi Sayed and Barrister Saif expressed dissatisfaction. They said it does not matter how much efforts were made but the fact was that there was no outcome. “It was not a normal case as the Senate itself was monitoring it,” the senators remarked and added that the attack on journalist is not a simple issue, but it was the failure of the whole establishment that the attackers were not identified yet.

The Senate committee members said if a hidden hand was involved in the attack, then police should make efforts to know the reasons behind the attack.

Senator Fateh Muhammad Hussani remarked that the media was a powerful segment of society and if it was not safe then no one will remain safe in the country.

Rehman Malik posed questions to Islamabad Police and asked that whether Geofencing was carried out in the case of October 27, 2017 attack on Ahmad Noorani. He asked whether Islamabad Police have complete capacity of carrying out Geofencing process, or it takes help from other organisations, and if Geofencing of this incident was carried out, which organisation did so. “Whether Islamabad Police tried to have second opinion on the results of Geofencing as the interior minister has termed it a ‘test case’ for the government,” he asked.

The committee chairman directed the IG Islamabad Police to meet the victim journalist in person, listen to him and conclude the investigation into the case within next 15 days. He also assured him the committee’s support and said attacks on journalists are a matter of great concern for him and the committee.

After hearing both sides, the committee chairman decided to have an in-camera session on the matter in the next meeting.

Senior journalist Hamid Mir also attended the meeting as attack on him was on agenda. In this regard, Rehman Malik directed the Ministry of Interior to submit a detailed report in the next meeting and also summoned IG Police Sindh and home secretary for the next meeting to know about progress in investigation.

The Senate committee in its meeting strongly condemned the terror attack on Bethel Memorial Church Quetta on December 18, 2017, in which nine innocent people lost their lives. The committee prayed for those who lost their lives in the attack and expressed sympathies with bereaved families. One-minute silence was observed for the victims of terrorist attack.

Rehman Malik moved a resolution against the terror attack on Bethel Memorial Church, Quetta, which was unanimously passed by the members.

Rehman Malik read the resolution as “this committee strongly condemns the terror attack on Bethel Memorial Church Quetta on December 18, 2017, in which 09 innocent people lost their lives. This committee terms it an attack on whole Pakistan. The services of Christian community in building Pakistan are highly appreciable and the whole Pakistani nation stands with the Christian community. This committee demands of the Government of Pakistan that a thorough investigation to be done and culprits should be brought to justice. We also demand from federal and provincial governments that security should be enhanced at the churches across the country. The committee appreciates the timely action by Balochistan Police and a security guard on duty who killed the suicide bomber. The committee recommends awarding ‘Sitara-e-Shujaat’ for him for his excellent professional judgement and his courage.”

The committee approved “The Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2017,” moved by Senators Mukhtiar Dhamra and Murtaza Wahab, “The Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, (The Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2017,” moved by Senator Karim Ahmed Khawaja.

Rehman Malik formed a special committee comprising of its members Senator Muhammad Ali Saif and Senator Javed Abbasi to further elaborate “The Miscarriage of Justice (Compensation) Bill, 2017,” moved by Senator Azam Swati.

Other than these three bills, the committee also discussed “The Criminal laws (Amendment) (Protection of Rights of Transgender Persons) Bill, 2017” moved by Senator Rubina Khalid.

The committee heard Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology on the matter who told the committee that the council’s meeting is scheduled to be held on January 17 on the said issue and the council will report to the committee in a few days after the meeting. The matter of sub-standard ink being used on front page of official passports was also discussed. The DG Passports was directed to resolve and report back to the committee in a month.

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