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NA opp sees PPO impinging on fundamental rights

13 December, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Lawmakers of the opposition parties called the Pakistan Protection Ordinance (PPO) a "blatant violation" of the fundamental rights of the people as the National Assembly started a debate on law and order on Thursday.

The motion, moved by Federal Minister Science and Technology Zahid Hamid, received sharp criticism of the opposition parties Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Awami Muslim League, who slammed the government for what they believed was its failure to save the lives of the people of the country. Starting the debate on law and order PTI's Dr Shireen Mazari paralleled the PPP with the draconian TADA law in India which, she said, was opposed by Pakistan for it being anti-people in the Occupied Kashmir.

Mazari opined that the anti-terrorism laws already in place are enough to deal with the terrorism crimes and said that PPO is not a solution to such crimes. "This law will worsen the situation rather than bringing improvement," she noted. Proposing measures to improve law and order, the PTI lawmaker spelled out four steps that she felt are enough to deal with this issue. First, country should be pulled out from anti-terrorism war of the US to deprive the extremists of their narrative of jihad. Second, police should be depoliticised, especially to ensure law and order in Karachi.

Third, judges and witnesses should be protected. Fourth, mindsets should be changed to refrain the students in particular from falling prey to extremist tendencies. MQM's Nabeel Gabol also talked about PPO and said it was usurping the democratic rights of the people. "We will not allow any law against the democratic norms," he declared. Speaking on Karachi operation, Gabol described it as insufficient, as so far no tangible results have been produced against the criminals through this operation.

AML chief Shiekh Rasheed Ahmed deplored the poor law and order situation in the country and referred to Islamabad which, he said, is most prone to terrorists. He said that killing of Jalaluddin Haqqani's son in Islamabad is a testimony to the fact. Referring to Rawalpindi sectarian violence on 10th Muharram, Shiekh said that all the police officials had been assigned protocol duty rather than ensuring security at Aushra. About the overall security situation in the country, the AML chief said that precarious situation can be gauged from the fact that 12,439 cases of kidnapping for ransom had occurred in Punjab, which is believed to be safest province in the country.

Earlier, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan paid rich tributes to former chief justice of Pakistan Ifikthar Chaudhry and former chief of army staff Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani. On Gen Kayani, Nisar said that he gave respect to civilian authority and had strong commitment to democracy. Similarly, he said Iftikhar Chaudhry had written history, although one might differ with some of his decisions.

The interior minister was critical about his cabinet fellows when it was pointed out that petroleum minister and his deputy were not present to respond to a calling attention notice of opposition party. "If they can't come then they should leave their positions," Nisar remarked and suggested the chair to move privilege motion if a minister does not come to the House to respond to queries about his ministry.

End.

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