Govt frames laws to empty terror pockets
06 September, 2012
ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Wednesday approved the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2012, which aims at freezing and seizing the property involved in terrorism financing to ensure that funding of terrorism is detected and checked under due process of law.
The bill also aims at addressing the shortcomings in the Anti-terrorism Act, 1997. In particular, it strengthens the provisions regarding terrorism financing by covering all aspects of the offence in the light of international standards and providing for more effective measures for law enforcement agencies to investigate the offence. The provisions on freezing and seizing of property involved in terrorism financing have been further strengthened.
The cabinet also considered the Investigation for Fair Trial Bill, 2012, and gave its approval with certain amendments. The bill provides for investigation for collection of evidence by means of modern techniques and devices to prevent and effectively deal with scheduled offences and to regulate the powers of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to prevent them from using their powers arbitrarily.
A report of the committee examining the issue of increase in seats of non-Muslims in the legislature was also considered. The members of the cabinet made a number of proposals and it was decided that the committee would present its final report in the light of recommendations made by cabinet members.
In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said he would like to convey the strong resolve of the government to overcome the challenges being faced by the people of Pakistan. He reiterated the government's commitment to confront the challenges of energy shortage and the scourge of terrorism with all available resources.
Raja strongly condemned the recent wave of terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, and expressed sympathy with the bereaved families. He said that such acts of violence could not shake the government's resolve to fight the menace of terrorism and that perpetrators of terrorism would be brought to the book. The prime minister urged the law enforcement agencies to beef up security and the provincial governments to keep a vigilant eye on any suspicious activity and evolve mechanism to counter terrorists' strategies.
He asked the government of Balochistan to implement the Supreme Court's verdict in order to improve the law and order situation in the province and assured the provincial government of the federal government's all-out assistance, adding that all possible measures would be taken to improve the security situation in Balochistan and the rest of the country.
He reiterated that the government was committed to resolving all issues, including the energy crisis, and that sincere efforts were being made to enhance the capacity of power plants to meet the energy demand in the future.
Raja said the credit for the independent judiciary went to the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) as it participated side by side with the lawyers' community in the movement for restoration of independent judiciary in 2007 when "the Musharraf regime forcibly removed the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan".
His appearance in the court was a testimony to the government's respect for the judiciary, he said. The government, its coalition partners, and the Supreme Court jointly wanted to address the issues pertaining to non-implementation of the apex court's verdict in the NRO case, according to the law and the constitution, he added.
The cabinet was informed that power generation and the demand-supply situation was improving gradually. The cabinet directed the Water and Power Ministry to make a detailed presentation to apprise its members about the short-term and long-term measures taken to eliminate load shedding.