- Council of Europe Convention could enable Dr Aafia Siddiqui to return to Pakistan under prisoner swap deal
- PM takes serious notice Karachi law and order, wants comprehensive plan formed for peace in financial hub
The federal cabinet on Wednesday approved the signing of the Council of Europe Convention on the transfer of sentenced persons, paving the way for repatriation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui under a prisoner swap deal between Pakistan and United States of America (USA).
“If things go according to the plan, Dr Aafia may be repatriated to Pakistan in swap for Dr Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani citizen who is under detention over charges of spying on al Qaeda supremo Osama bin Laden,” an official source told Pakistan Today.
“On attaining accession to this convention, the US government will be requested under the relevant provisions for repatriation of Aafia Siddiqui presently undergoing imprisonment in the US,” an official statement said.
Dr Aafia is a dual national and holds nationalities of Pakistan and the US.
However, it remains a mystery how a Pakistani could be swapped for a dual national languishing in jail of the US. According to the western media, Dr Aafia has been a victim of worst torture by the US marines and has been kept at various US jails, including Bagram base.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed the Interior Minister to “fast track” the process of the signing of the convention. The signing of the convention would facilitate repatriation of Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan.
“In his briefing to the cabinet meeting, the interior minister said that the instances arise from time-to-time that Pakistani nationals sentenced to imprisonment by US Courts could not be brought back due to absence of any bilateral agreement or any convention to which both countries are signatories,” the source said.
Under US law, a person sentenced under federal law may only be repatriated/transferred to country of origin/citizenship if the country in question is a signatory to a prisoner transfer treaty to which the United States is also a signatory. United States is a signatory to the convention and Pakistan is not, the minister added.
Karachi law and order:
The prime minister also took serious notice of the law and order in Karachi and directed the interior minister to make a comprehensive presentation in the next cabinet meeting on the issue. He directed the interior minister to prepare his strategy to deal with the issue as the people of Karachi could not be left to mercenaries and gangsters.
The cabinet also gave its approval for signing of Inter-Governmental Council Resolution to CASA-1000 Transmission Project between Pakistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and KyrgyzRepublic. The Joint Working Group has prepared recommendations for development of the Project on the basis of Contractual Joint Venture and start negotiations on the standard terms and conditions in accordance with agreed commercial principles.
Signing of the resolution by the minister for water and power was approved by the cabinet.
The Inter-Governmental Council (IGC) consists of ministers/deputy ministers of the four countries.
The cabinet also considered and gave its approval for signing of protocol to increase security cooperation between Pakistan and Turkey.
The objective of the protocol is to increase the current security cooperation between police organizations of the parties, including for capacity building and police training activities.
Both sides will cooperate, within the scope of this protocol in the following areas to strengthen their organisational capacity in counter-terrorism, information technologies and telecommunication, training and train-the-trainer programmes, crime scene investigation and forensics, organized crimes, intelligence, operational, tactical and strategic level police management training, police aviation, police behavior training and contemporary approaches in policing, defence tactics, sniper and operational shooting, criminal investigations, traffic management and traffic control system, riot policing, crisis management systems, MOBESE systems and prevention of radicalisation.
The cabinet considered and gave its approval for implementation of decisions of meeting of Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (LJCP).
It may be mentioned that in the meeting of LJCP held on June 4, 2011, the commission approved certain amendments in the Law and Justice Commission Ordinance 1979, National Judicial Committee Ordinance 2002 and repeal of Federal Court Act 1937. The cabinet gave its approval to the amendments for introduction in either House of parliament.
The cabinet considered and gave its approval to the Amendment in the Federal Employees Benevolent Fund and Group Insurance Act, 1969 (Act-II of 1969). The amendment envisages incorporation of Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development in the composition of the board in place of Ministry of Labour and Manpower.
The cabinet considered and gave its approval to amendments in the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act, 1973. The draft bill will provide for establishment of Islamabad Bar Council which is a statutory requirement under the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act, 1973.
The cabinet also considered and gave its approval in principle to enter into negotiations on an agreement on transfer of offenders between Pakistan and Maldives, Pakistan and Korea and Pakistan and China.
It also considered and gave its approval for signing the negotiated agreement on transfer of offenders between Pakistan, Yemen, Azerbaijan and Turkey.
The cabinet considered and gave its approval for signing of the protocol between Ministry of Defence of the Kingdom of Spain and the Ministry of Defence of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on defence cooperation.
It also gave its approval for signing of Financial Cooperation Agreement 2011 with Germany. The agreement will strengthen and intensify friendly relations through financial cooperation in a spirit of partnership and it will contribute to social and economic development in Pakistan.
The agreement will also facilitate loans and financial contributions totaling Euro 67 million for developmental projects in Pakistan.
The cabinet considered and gave its approval for signing of Cooperation Agreement between the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the government of the Pakistan in the field of sports. The proposed agreement would provide an opportunity to share the experience, skills and techniques of sports between the two countries.
The federal cabinet gave its approval in principle to initiate negotiations with the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka for signing of an MoU on cooperation in the field of sports.
It gave its ex-post facto approval, in principle, for the negotiations and singing of a protocol between the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China and the Ministry of National Food Security & Research of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on phytosanitary requirements for exporting mangoes from Pakistan to China.
The cabinet was apprised that the export of Pakistani mangoes to China would not only accrue significant economic returns but would also contribute to an authenticity to the Pakistani mangoes.
The cabinet considered Amendments in Service Tribunals Act, 1973 and formed a committee to review and present its recommendations.
The Committee comprises Minister for FinanceIshaq Dar, Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Khawaja Zaheer and Secretary to the Prime Minister Nasir Khosa.
The cabinet considered and gave its approval for signing of the initialed draft convention between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the CzechRepublic for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.