Rangers empowered: Cabinet approves Anti-Terrorism bill amendments

Published: September 20, 2013
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Ranger arresting suspects involved in a clash between two groups. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/EXPRESS/FILE

Ranger arresting suspects involved in a clash between two groups. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet on Friday approved amendments to the Anti-Terrorism Bill, sanctioning more powers for Rangers in their endeavour to restore law and order in Karachi.

The decision was taken in a cabinet session chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The revised draft of the bill will now be presented before the Parliament for approval.

•   The amendments will allow security forces to ‘use force’ to prevent a terrorist act, with omission of the phrase ‘when fired upon’.

•   Target killers, extortionists and kidnappers will also be treated as ‘terrorists’.

•   The armed forces or civil armed forces will be authorised to detain a person involved in such offences for three months for investigations.

Besides giving the Rangers greater powers, the proposed amendments also include ensuring protection of witnesses as part of a larger effort to stem terrorism within the state.

In that regard, the measures include “using screens to shield witnesses, judges and prosecutors from public view; trial in jail premises or through video link; investigation and trial in another province and ensuring no access to mobile phones for prisoners in jail.”

The cabinet also decided to constitute a special committee to review the proposed bill for local bodies act for the federal capital.

While speaking on law and order within the country, the Prime Minister expressed satisfaction over the ongoing targeted action in Karachi, remarking that the common man was satisfied with the operation and a positive outcome was guaranteed.

He directed the federal government institutions to ensure full cooperation with the Sindh government to restore law and order in Karachi.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Pakistani
    Sep 20, 2013 - 8:51PM

    Does it mean Ranger got right to violate human rights?

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  • Saddam
    Sep 20, 2013 - 9:01PM

    Good step but what will these law enforcement agencies do when all these murderers, exhibitionist, kidnappers will be pardoned?

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  • Sep 20, 2013 - 10:10PM

    I like this clause

    “amendments will allow security forces to ‘use force’ to prevent a terrorist act”

    Rangers/Police normally know the bad guys, just execute them on sight and save the life of witnesses, time of judiciary and money of tax payers

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  • riz
    Sep 20, 2013 - 10:18PM

    Late but right step.

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  • skhan
    Sep 20, 2013 - 10:24PM

    No point, courts will set them free again !!

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  • aqib
    Sep 20, 2013 - 10:41PM

    The problem is not as much as the law written in a book, as to whether that law is actually applied in practice or not.

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  • SHB
    Sep 20, 2013 - 11:21PM

    @Pakistani:
    This is the price you have to pay for peace in Karachi.

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  • Sam
    Sep 21, 2013 - 1:52AM

    Shameful, govt. released a known terrorist in name of peace.

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  • Fiz
    Sep 21, 2013 - 2:27AM

    To some people, they might look like excessive powers but extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary steps. These steps are in the right direction although too late.Lets keep our fingers crossed. We need peace now, it does not matter at what cost.

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  • Owais
    Sep 21, 2013 - 5:20AM

    “measures include “using screens to shield witnesses, judges and prosecutors from public view; trial in jail premises or through video link; investigation and trial in another province and ensuring no access to mobile phones for prisoners in jail.”

    The operation is going to be successful if this is implemented properly.

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