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Parliament 'failed' on anti-terror laws: Malik

17 November, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rahman Malik on Friday deplored no practical work had been done by parliament to make stringent and effective anti-terror laws.

The interior minister's outburst came at the fag end of the session of Lower House of parliament when his attention was drawn towards a decision to ban motorcycle riding and suspension of cellular phone services in Karachi and Quetta – steps which have been severely criticised across the country. Replying to a point of order raised by MQM's Sheikh Salahuddin, Malik said that the anti-terrorism amendment bill has been lying with parliament for the last three years, however unfortunately it could not see the light of the day.

Similarly, various other measures and laws proposed to deal with this menace have never been taken care off, Malik complained, and said that law enforcing agencies apprehend terrorists, but they are later released because of loopholes in the laws to deal with such criminal elements. "When we don't take action Supreme Court questions us. When we take it, courts overrule it," the interior minister remarked in an apparent reference to the order of the Sindh High Court to suspend the notification of the government banning motorcycle riding in Karachi.

"If the ban was imposed on motorcycle riding and mobile in Karachi and Quetta, it was in accordance with constitution to prevent any untoward incident," Malik said in defence of his decision. He said there were very solid intelligence reports that motorcycles could be used for detonating bombs on the first day of Muharram and substantiated his claim by saying that 438 bombs were denoted during the current year through motorcycles in various parts of the country.

"The mobile phone SIMs and motorcycles are commonly used to detonate these bombs," the minister told the House and said the decision was taken in consultation with all the stakeholders and after the approval of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. He pleaded fellow legislators to give an effective law to combat terrorism. Malik said law and order is an important issue and he wanted to tell the reasons behind the wave of terrorism in the country. He noted that some forces wanted to destabilise the country and the government by derailing the present democratic system. Reacting to the statement of the interior minister, PML-N MNA Abdul Qadir Baloch remarked over four and a half years have passed since the present government took over and the minister still needed more time to deal with the issue.

He termed the ban on motorcycle riding and mobile phones in Karachi and Quetta an inappropriate method, saying it would deprive the common man of his livelihood. Earlier during the question-hour session, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Malik Amad Khan expressed ignorance about the terms and conditions of release of over a dozen Taliban militants from Pakistani jails as it was dealt by the Interior Ministry. "I am not in a position to explain it and would need the input from the Interior Ministry."

Replying to a question, the minister said Pakistan had huge concerns about the capacity of the Afghan government to tackle the situation following the withdrawal of ISAF forces in 2014. MNA Usman Khan expressed concern over law and order situation in Khuzdar district of Balochistan and called for empowering the police and deputy commissioner by withdrawing the FC from the area, which he believed has completely failed to maintain law and order in the area. He pointed out that warlords were killing innocent people in the area and said the state should stop protecting these elements by disarming them.

Amad Khan said Pakistan is taking all possible steps to have a relationship with the US based on mutual respect and mutual understanding in pursuit of national goals and objectives. He said parliament's recommendations are a guide for a relationship with the United States. He said both the countries are working for greater engagements at political, economic and military levels. "It would help to revive our mutual confidence," he said. Malik Amad said a number of engagements and visits are taking place to work on convergence.

End.

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