Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2022: Senate body advises ministry to remove ambiguity – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the Senate Interior Standing Committee was held here on Monday under the chairmanship of Senator Mohsin Aziz.

The meeting began with deliberations on the Bill titled “Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2022”. The Minister of State for Law and Justice, Senator Shahadat Awan, informed the committee that the bill relates to enforced disappearances and in the bill it is stated: “If a complainant files a petition against enforced disappearance and if the petition is found to be false after a certain period of time, then the petitioner will be sentenced to imprisonment for up to five years”.

He added that this clause will prevent the public from filing a petition against enforced disappearances and that it is essential to review certain parts of the bill.

The committee advised the Home Office to remove any ambiguities in the bill and postponed consideration of the bill until the next meeting.

Additionally, the senatorial body discussed the bill titled “Anti-Rape (Amendment) Bill, 2022” introduced by Senator Mohsin Aziz.

The chairman told the committee that the bill aims to trace and track the location of offenders so they can be stopped from committing an offense in the future.

The State Minister for Law and Justice, Senator Shahadat Awan has claimed that the bill is against Article 15 of the Constitution which guarantees freedom of movement to citizens and yet it is quite difficult to trace the location of offenders as it involves the creation of the new mechanism for this purpose. The committee deferred consideration of the bill for further deliberation until the next meeting.

In addition, the Bill titled “Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill, 2022” introduced by Senator Fawzia Arshad was also postponed to the next meeting. Senator Fawzia Arshad told the committee that the purpose of the bill is to make it mandatory for police departments across the country that only female constables or officers can arrest women charged with an offence. The Minister of State for Law and Justice informed the Senate body that these clauses are already incorporated into the police regulations and that the only problem lies in their implementation.

The Senate body also addressed the issue of the brutal use of force by law enforcement against the participants of the “Haqeeqi Azadi March”. The Leader of the Opposition, Senator Dr Shahzad Waseem condemned the illegal arrest of Senator Ejaz Chaudhary and the raid on the house of Senator Walid Iqbal and maintained that the right of assembly is a fundamental right of citizens of the country and that it should not be violated at any cost.

Senator Ejaz Chaudhary claimed that two months have passed since the incident and no action has been taken so far. Senator Mohsin Aziz has ordered AIG Operations of Punjab Police Sahibzada Mohammad Shahzad Sultan to investigate the matter and submit a report to the committee within the next 15 days.

In addition to this, the committee discussed recent incidents of arrests, harassment and threats against political leaders and journalists. Senator Mohsin Aziz reiterated that “we have no problem with the arrests but we just want to make sure that the rule of law must be respected”.

Senator Fawzia Arshad asked DIG ICT Sohail Zafar Chatha that “If the police had any warrants at the time of Shahbaz Gill’s arrest?”

In response to this, DIG ICT said that in prosecutable offenses the police have jurisdiction to arrest the accused without a warrant. The chairman of the committee, Senator Mohsin Aziz, postponed deliberations on the matter until the next meeting and ordered IG Islamabad police to attend the next meeting.

Additionally, the committee deliberated on the killing of members of Sindh and KPK minorities. Senator Danesh Kumar expressed his displeasure on the data provided by the Sindh Police and claimed that the statistics do not reflect the true situation prevailing in the surrounding area. Senator Mohsin Aziz has ordered DIG Sindh Police Tariq Abbas Qureshi to submit a detailed report of all offenses committed against minorities within the next 15 days.

The committee discussed the issue of former Senator Dr. Muhammad Ismaeel Bulaidi regarding unlawful interference with the ownership of land located in Gulshan-e-Maimar, Karachi.

The DIG Sindh Police West Karachi, Nasir Aftab told the committee that the case is mainly related to the revenue department, however, an investigation was carried out in which it was found that the land belongs to the government of Pakistan.

Senator Mohsin Aziz ordered Commissioner Karachi to submit a report on the matter to the committee and argued that no encroachment should be made on the plot until the matter is decided by the committee.

The meeting was attended by Senator Moula Bux Chandio, Senator Saifullah Abro, Minister of State for Law and Justice, Senator Shahadat Awan, Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman, Senator Fawzia Arshad, Head of opposition, Senator DrShahzadWaseem, Senator Ejaz Chaudhary, Senator Danesh Kumar, Senator Dilawar Khan. , Senator Kamil Ali Agha, Home Secretary Yousuf Naseem Khokar, AIG Police Punjab Sahibzada Mohammad Shahzad Sultan, DIG Police Islamabad Sohail Zafar Chatha, DIG Police Sindh Tariq Abbas Qureshi, AIG Police KPK Dr Ishtiaq and other relevant agents.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022