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Bill calls for 10-year sentence for graves' desecration

08 January, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice on Tuesday passed a bill envisaging a minimum ten-year sentence for desecration of graves.

It also adopted another bill to hold the local government election within 45 days immediately following the day on which the term of a local government expires. The meeting of the committee, chaired by Senator Mohammad Kazim Khan, discussed two government bills and nine pieces of legislations as private bills. The bill to fix minimum ten-year sentence for the desecration of graves was moved by MQM's Tahir Hussain Mashhadi. The committee passed it unanimously.

The private member bill of Senator Mohsin Khan Laghari about the local government elections was also passed by the committee. The bill explained that the local governments shall not be without elected representatives for more than forty-five days. In the case of earlier dissolution of local governments, it states that new elections should be held and new local governments be formed within forty-five days of the dissolution of a local government.

The bill is of importance because of the fact that the local government elections could not be held since 2005 because of this lacuna and such restriction is necessary to hold the elections in time. The committee deferred the bill on dual nationality of parliamentarians and imposition of income tax on the feudal class. The bill calls for uniform income tax imposition by bringing the big landholdings in the tax net. About dual nationality, Tahir Mashhadi suggested that dual nationals should be allowed to contest elections. However, Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said that if parliamentarians are barred from having dual nationality, similar restriction should also be placed on judges and bureaucracy to keep them loyal to only one country.

The committee also adjourned a bill on creation of new federating units till its next meeting. Mohsin Laghari said that the consent of local population and the respective province should be acquired before carving out a new unit. He recalled that during the last democratic tenure, all political parties agreed on creation of a new province, however protest came from that province which called for amendment in the constitution.

The committee also put on hold a suggestion of law and justice secretary that the federal government be empowered with transferring a case from one court to another. This was the prerogative of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman earlier. He suggested that witnesses and prosecutors should be given additional security in different cases which, Aitzaz Ahsan, said is already enshrined in the constitution.


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