NA passes bill to secure military court officials, witnesses


Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill 2015 will indemnify court officials against prosecution in any other court of law

The National Assembly on Wednesday passed the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill 2015 aimed at protecting court officials and witnesses and indemnity against prosecution in any other court of law.

Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Chaudhry Jaffar Iqbal piloted the bill to further amend the Pakistan Army Act, 1952 in the House. New section 2C is inserted after section 2B in the bill, which says, “Protection to witnesses, President, Members of the Court, Defending Officers, Prosecutors and persons concerned with Court Proceedings”.

Members from the Opposition, Naveed Qamar, Dr Shireen Mazari, Dr Arif Alvi, Sahibzada Tariqullah and Dr Nafeesa Shah questioned the new amendment to the bill and its need. Responding to the various questions by the opposition members, Jaffar Iqbal said that it was a part of 21st amendment, which was made to ensure peace and stability in the country.

He said it was need of hour and the amendment has helped curtail terrorism and terrorist activities in the country. Jaffar Iqbal said the bill was passed by the Senate and was thoroughly debated in the standing committees of both houses.

There exists a grave threat to the integrity of Pakistan because terrorists groups were raising arms. These groups are funded by foreign and local elements using name of religion or sect. They have to be severely dealt with under the law, and that is why the bill was created.

In order to ensure proper conduct of trails, special measures for protection and indemnity against legal proceedings as well as arrest or detention of the accused persons; it is desirable that during the conduct of said trials, security and safety of court officials is never compromised.

Therefore, special measures for the protection of such officials and indemnity against arrest/detention of terrorists are required.