Gilani defers approving ‘draconian’ anti-terrorism law

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Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Tuesday deferred approval to the Anti-Terrorism Act (Amendment) Bill 2010 due to the proposed stringent punishments against suspected people, militants and insurgents on the argument that the proposals might be tagged as a “draconian law” and directed the ministries of Law and Interior to make further deliberations on the bill and seek advice from other stakeholders, including the security establishment.
A highly placed source told Pakistan Today that Interior Minister Rehman Malik along with the attorney general of Pakistan briefed Gilani but failed to convince him on the proposed law, adding that the PM directed the minister to seek advice from the security establishment of the country due to sensitive nature of the draft law. The proposed bill also says that “an action or intention to threaten the sovereignty, integrity, security and unity of the state of Pakistan may also be included in the offence of terrorism,” the source said, adding that the clause would not only cover the militants but would also cover action against Baloch insurgents and rebels.
Another clause of the bill would increase the existing punishment to up to five years and fine for enticing public, religious gathering. “This punishment may be increased to 10 years as it will prove a deterrent to the nurturing of the madrassa culture,” the source said. “Provision may be added to empower the court to order transfer of property including shares of the convict in the name of the federal government,” added the source.
“Rehman Malik also told the PM that the applicability of the act may be extended to every citizen of Pakistan and person in service wherever they may be, including a person on Pakistan flagship and aircraft,” said the source. “The bill proposes more stringent measures against terrorists to resolve the controversy for the past many years. The prime minister was informed that the proposed bill is also pending with the Senate Standing Committee on Interior for one year and the committee Chairman Senator Talha Mahmood, who belongs to the JUI-F, seems reluctant in passing the bill as he sees some of the clauses of the proposed bill in violation of the human rights,” the source said.
The source said some of the fresh amendments proposed by the Ministry of Interior in the draft bill were related to the increase in punishment of “extortion” to 14 years. The fresh amendments, tagged as ‘legal proposals’ by the Law Ministry, propose that Section 6 of the draft bill may be amended to add that “any action or intention to threaten the sovereignty, integrity, security, defence and unity of Pakistan to be included in the offence of terrorism”.
The legal proposals said “specific time period should be given in the act for the conclusion of the trial by the ATA courts and the same shall be implemented religiously”. It said “Section 21 shall be amended to provide for authorization to keep the names of the judges, prosecutors and witnesses secret even from the accused”. Gilani observed that the current law was not offering an effective regime to criminals who get scot-free due to the legal lacuna in the prevalent law.
“The rate of conviction is terribly low which emboldens the criminals to revert to their abhorrent activities against the society and the state,” he said.

3 COMMENTS

  1. greatest threat that whole country-men face is nearly 60 percent corrupt establishment and the all leaders in rule that blackmail innocent people that prefer their own personal security disregarding the nation.. people are dying of hunger due to no employment and where employment is made that is on source and influence…right of common man is usurps …..Is it not terrorism ..what the role that party leaders play for no any good of common person and disregard Justice is just equal to terrorism that is being done by bad and dirty persons

  2. Excellent article MIAN ABRAR, thank you for this wonderful profile.

    You article inspired me to share a few words about another AMP leader, Busra Bibi, who passed away recently, Busra played a crucial role in maintaining the morale and determination of AMP whenever the military and police attacked the villages to arrest AMP members and leaders.

    Busra was one of the main organizers of the Thapa Force in her village as she bravely confronted the soldiers and physically fought off the police when they tried to enter people’s homes in the 2004. She along with the women in her village surrounded the police officers and held them in the village until the DPO was forced to release AMP leaders who had been arrested.

    Busra was brave in her words and her actions, she lived a life free of fear and full of purpose. I am sure that this struggle will continue for a long time and we will see many great leaders emerge from it.

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