NA panel okays national centre to counter extremism

Also gives go-ahead to bill to ensure minimum wage payment in transparent manner

Qadeer Tanoli January 03, 2018
National Assembly. PHOTO: APP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Committee on Interior on Tuesday approved two bills – one seeking the establishment of a national center for countering extremism and the other for ensuring transparency in the payment of minimum wages.

The committee, which met with MNA Rana Shamim Ahmad Khan in the chair, passed “The National Centre for Countering Violent Extremism Act, 2017” moved by MNA Romina Khursheed Alam.

Alam said the establishment of a center for countering extremism in the country was mandatory as “not only the students of different seminaries but also those with high qualifications are inclined toward extremism”.

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To meet the objectives of the National Action Plan (NAP) and tackle extremism, ethnic polarisation, religious fragmentation and intolerance, the bill intends to enhance national integration and inclusion through coordinated efforts.

Coordinator for the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) Ihsan Ghani said that the chairman of the center should be interior minister instead of defence minister, as proposed in the bill.

According to the brief submitted by NACTA before the committee, the authority is already mandated to propose counterterrorism strategies to the government vide section 4 of the NACTA Act. Therefore, creation of another body with similar functions under the Ministry of Defence would be deemed a burden on exchequer.

The bill may be amended to include interior minister as head of the of Board of Governors, and National Coordinator NACTA as convener to conduct all business of the board on behalf of the minister.

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The committee also approved “The Minimum Wages (Amendment) Act, 2017” moved by MNA Fouzia Hameed, seeking to ensure payment of lowest wage in a transparent manner.

According to statement of objects and reasons, the Minimum Wages Ordinance, 1961 needs to be amended for incorporation of (a) mode of payment of salary or wage through bank account, (b) determination of working hours, (c) fixing overtime allowance, and (d) providing punishment in case of non-compliance.

Moreover, an agreement between employer and employees, or worker, has been proposed through a written document duly signed by an oath commissioner in order to ensure payment of minimum wage in transparent and timely manner.

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The committee also constituted a subcommittee in the convenership of Nawab Muhammad Yousuf Talpur which will conduct a visit of Karachi prison to check violation of jail manual.

Meanwhile, Rizwan Ahmad, Special Secretary Ministry of Interior, while briefing the committee on licences of prohibited bores, said that these bores had been suspended with the approval of the federal cabinet whereas a ban on the issuance of non-prohibited bore arms (NPB) had been lifted.

The committee also took serious notice of closed NADRA office in Uch Sharif and directed the concerned officials to visit the place and make it functional.


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