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December 13, 2020

Law amended on a holiday: Action against anti-state trouble inciters

Top Story

December 13, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to take immediate action against the people or groups involved in anti-state activities or instigating the public or institutions against the state, sources in the interior ministry confided to this correspondent.

The circular transferring the federal cabinet’s right to take action against the people found involved in anti-state activities to the federal secretary was issued on Saturday – the non-working day.

The federal government has delegated powers of the cabinet to the secretary interior by amending CrPC, the sources said, adding that in such offences, the complaint would be lodged by the secretary interior on behalf of the federal government and each time there would be no need to move a summary to the cabinet for approval.

The summary of authorization for prosecution for offences against the state approved by the federal government said the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 (Act 5 of 1898), professes to deal exhaustively with the law of procedure and provide in the minute details the procedure to be followed in every matter pertaining to general administration of criminal law.

Section 196 of the Code provides that prosecution for offences against the state would only be instituted under the authority from the federal government or the provincial government concerned.

Section 196 of the Code reads as, “No court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under chapter VI or IX –A of the Pakistan Penal Code (except section 127), or punishable under Section 108-A, or Section 153-A, or Section 294-A, or Section 295-A or Section 505 of the same code, unless upon complaint made by order of, or under authority, from the Federal Government, or the Provincial Government concern, or some officers empowered in this behalf by either of the governments.

The consequences of the application of Section 196 of the code is that in respect of the offences mentioned in the said provision, if the mandatory condition of sanctioned by the Federal Government or the Provincial Government concern is not obtained, then the entire proceeding would become without jurisdiction or coram non judice.

It is therefore proposed that the Federal Cabinet may authorise Secretary, Ministry of Interior, under Section 196 of the code, to severally file prosecution or complaint on behalf of the Federal Government in respect of any of the offences mentioned in section 196 of code.

Arshad Dogar adds: the SP Security Lahore has warned PDM leaders and activists about a threat of terrorism in the PDM public gathering being held today.

PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah has specifically been warned to take maximum precautionary measures before and during the PDM Jalsa. He has been advised to use a bulletproof vehicle while travelling for corner meetings. The threat alert has been issued keeping in view the reports of the National Counterterrorism Authority (Nacta) and the Special Branch. The law-enforcement agencies warned that the participants, especially the political leaders, could be attacked.

According to the alert, addressed to the Punjab home secretary, the provincial police chief and the Rangers Punjab director general; attacks on the PDM leadership could be carried out in the next few days and the top-tier of the opposition alliance could be assassinated to create a security situation in the country. The letter stresses extreme vigilance and heightened security measures for the PDM gathering. The letter said a meeting of terrorist outfits was held across the western border of the country recently to plan an attack on the opposition leadership during the Lahore rally. A similar alert was issued by the Lahore police on December 8 for the PDM public gathering on Dec 13, warning that terrorists could target PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz and other top political leadership of the opposition parties. The Lahore police have also advised the PDM leadership to cancel the Jalsa and all related activities to avoid the corona spread.

However, the SP said if they are not going to cancel it, they should adopt all SOPs for COVID-19. He asked them not to use loudspeakers. Though the government has not given a green signal for the Jalsa and the Lahore Police have no obligation to provide security to the participants and leaders, the police have been alerted to counter the gathering. Six SPs and over 10,000 cops have been deployed at different points.

The threat advisory letters have been sent to PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, PML-N leaders Ayaz Sadiq and Khawaja Saad Rafique.

The City Traffic Police have devised a traffic plan to maintain the flow of traffic at and around Minar-e-Pakistan. The traffic will be diverted to adjoining roads. The CCPO Lahore has cancelled the leave of all clerical staff. They have been asked to reach office without any delay. SHOs have been tasked to discourage people of their respective areas from joining the Jalsa. A source in the DIG office said the Lahore Police would take stern action against the violators of SOPs. He said strict action will be taken against the leaders and workers for holding the Jalsa without prior approval.