Federal cabinet likely to ratify prevention detention order

  • Govt set to authorise premier to order detention of any suspected person

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet is likely to ratify the preventive detention order (PDO) in Tuesday’s meeting so as to authorise the prime minister to issue an order with respect to taking particular person/s in custody for 90 days, Pakistan Today has learnt.

Sources in power corridors told Pakistan Today that ratification of the PDO will be taken up as the most important agenda item in the federal cabinet meeting scheduled to meet on Tuesday. And, it (PDO) will remain intact if the federal cabinet, after a thorough review, endorses the ratification. The PDO is being taken up for an extension before its expiry, they added.

“With the ratification of the preventive detention order, the government is set to authorise the premier instead of the federal government to order the detention of any suspected person in order to prevent any upcoming disaster,” said sources.

The order allows taking any suspicious person into custody for 90 days. At present, the federal government can exercise such power under the Security of Pakistan Act, 1952.

The sources said that by seeking cabinet’s ratification through Interior Ministry, the government has moved to amend “The Security of Pakistan Act, 1952” by replacing “federal government” with “prime minister” so as to authorise the latter to make an order with respect to any particular person, that shall be detained, to prevent him from acting prejudicial to the defence of the country.

Section 3(1) of the act “Restrictions on the movements of suspected persons and their detention” reads as: “The federal government, if satisfied with respect to any particular person, that, with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the defence or the external affairs or the security of Pakistan, or any part thereof, it is necessary so to do, may make an order (a) directing such person to remove himself from Pakistan in such manner, before such time, and by such route, as may be specified in the order; (b) directing that he be detained”.

Sources further quoted a letter of secretary to then prime minister Nawaz Sharif  Fawad Hasan Fawad to the secretary interior wherein Fawad Hassan Fawad has stated that in view of the importance of the detention of the suspects and potential of their involvement in activities prejudicial to the interest of the state of Pakistan, the premier has desired that in view of the nature of such cases, the Interior Ministry shall separately look into amending the present legal dispensation and replace the words “federal government” with “prime minister”.

It is also learnt from sources that after receiving a letter from the PM Office issued by Fawad Hassan Fawad, the Interior Ministry had sought advice from the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights on the said matter. And, after receiving advice from the said ministries, the Interior Division had forwarded the summary to the federal cabinet, seeking ratification of the preventive detention orders, they added.

It is pertinent to mention here that in August 2016, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, on the appeals filed by the importers of cellular phones and textile goods, had ruled against authorising the prime minister with such powers.

According to sources, the cabinet will approve the amendment in the schedule of FIA Act, 1974 and the resignation of Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Limited (PIACL) Board of Directors’ member Ali Salman Hafeez. And, it (federal cabinet) is likely to grant ex-post facto approval of policy directives issued to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to off-air and on-air of private TV news channels. They also told that a summary of Information and Broadcasting Division will be presented before the meeting for approval to the terms and conditions of service of chairman, Implementation Tribunal for Newspaper Employees (ITNE) and  the appointment as Member Technical (BS-21) Customs Appellate Tribunal, Peshawar Bench, Bench-I, Lahore and Bench-I, Karachi. Similarly, the Federal Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) reforms committee will be given the status of a cabinet committee and it will be named as the National Implementation Committee after necessary approval.

Likewise, the federal cabinet will consider amendments to the guidelines of Prime Minister’s Global SDGs achievement programme; and Hajj Policy Plan, 2018 and will also consider a proposal of Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination Division regarding approval of Medical Devices Rules, 2017 in lieu of Rules 2015.More, the cabinet will also grant permission in-principle to sign the revised memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development of Pakistan and the Ministry of Employment and Labour of Korea on the sending and receiving of workers under the employment permit system. Furthermore, the Hajj policy of 2018 sent by the Ministry of Religious Affairs has been included for consideration. It is prescribed that fares and other expenditures of Hajj shall not be increased.