Amending anti-terrorism laws: PCNS to finalise proposals on missing persons today

Panel calls Khar for a detailed briefing on the resumption of Nato supply routes as well as situation in Afghanistan.

Sumera Khan July 24, 2012


The Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) will meet today (Tuesday) to finalise its draft recommendations regarding the missing persons’ issue.

While talking to The Express Tribune, Chairperson Senator Raza Rabbani said that “besides the consideration of draft recommendations regarding missing persons, the committee will also take up proposals to amend the anti-terrorism laws which were deferred in our last meeting.”

Rabbani added that the panel has also called for a detailed briefing from Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and other Foreign Office officials on the resumption of Nato supply routes as well as the situation in Afghanistan.

According to details gathered from other members of the committee on condition of anonymity, the PCNS will propose a fresh legal framework to prevent the disappearance of people while suggesting legal action against the disappearances as the only way to curb the practice.

Another member said, “The committee has completed 90 % of its work to approve the proposals after receiving recommendations from political parties on the issue of missing persons, but the absence of treasury members is causing an unnecessary delay in finalising the draft.”

A member from the opposition, however, felt that the failure of the committee to finalise proposals was not a result of undue absences but rather because “some serious differences amongst the members are prevailing on the issue of the anti-terrorism law and missing persons.”

The member specifically pointed out chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who raised objections over recommendations on both issues.

Sources added that Senator Rabbani is personally meeting with the maulana to get him on board over the committee’s recommendations on the missing persons issue in particular, and especially with regard to Balochistan.

Senator Mushahid Husain Syed said, “The issue has enraged the country, but has provoked (the most ire) in Balochistan – and the worst thing is the security agencies are mainly accused for this crime.”

Senator Rabbani also said that Balochistan will be discussed on a priority basis in the committee’s upcoming sessions.  Regarding the implementation of the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balachistan package, he said that the authorities concerned of the federation and Balochistan would be called in to brief the committee about its implementation status.

Today’s PCNS session will be held in-camera.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2012.

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