National Assembly of Pakistan on 2 July 2014 approved Protection of Pakistan Bill 2014 amid military offensive against the Taliban in North Waziristan. This Bill will remain in force for two years.
The Protection of Pakistan Bill, 2014 seeks to provide for protection against waging of war against Pakistan and the prevention of acts threatening the security of Pakistan.
Earlier, the Bill was unanimously approved by the Senate or upper house on 30 June 2014.
The Main Provisions of the Bill
• It defines enemy alien as a militant whose identity is unascertainable as a Pakistani, in the locality where he has been arrested or in the locality where he claims to be residing, whether by documentary or oral evidence; or who has been deprived of his citizenship by naturalisation.
• It defines militant as any person who wages war or insurrection against Pakistan, or raises arms against Pakistan, its citizens, the armed forces or civil armed forces; or takes up advocates or encourages or aids or abets the raising of arms or waging of war or a violent struggle against Pakistan.
• It empowered the official of grade 15 (Non Gazetted Officers/Junior Officers/ JCOs) and above to issue orders of shoot-at-sight.
• It also allows the security forces to detain suspects for a period of 60 days after getting judicial remand.
• It also allows security forces to conduct search operations without securing warrant from a judicial officer.
• The circumstances justifying the search & seizure operation and the items recovered shall be reported within two days to special judicial magistrate of the area by the officer conducting the search.
• It provides for at least 20 years of imprisonment for those convicted of militancy.
• Convicted persons will have the right to appeal before a high court against their convictions. Earlier, a convicted person had only the right to appeal before the Supreme Court.
• It also containS a list of scheduled offences which among others include cybercrimes and offences related to information technology and crossing of national boundaries illegally.
• The punishments for these scheduled offences can be extended to 20 years.
The bill essentially is an anti-terror law which provides unbridled powers to security forces that includes shoot-at-sight of suspects involved in terrorism, arson and murder. However, the human rights bodies and opposition of Pakistan have criticised the Protection of Pakistan Bill 2014 as it provides unbridled powers to security agencies.
Who: Pakistan Parliament
When: on 2 July 2014