President Mamnoon issues ordinance to amend anti-terror laws
11 October, 2013
ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain on Thursday promulgated an ordinance to further amend the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
Under the Anti-terrorism(Amendment) Ordinance, 2013, electronic evidences would be acceptable and the conviction solely on the basis of electronic or forensic evidence has been declared lawful. The government or armed forces or civil armed forces have been empowered to issue order for the preventive detention of any person who has been concerned in any offence relating to the security or defence of Pakistan, target killing, kidnapping for ransom, and extortion/bhatta for period not exceeding three months, but only after receiving credible information and reasonable complaints.
The inquiry in offences falling under this Act will be conducted by a police officer not below the rank of inspector or, where the government deems it necessary, a joint investigation team (JIT) comprising members of armed forces or civil armed forces, intelligence agencies and other law enforcement agencies, including a police officer not below the rank of superintendent of police. The investigating officer or the JIT, as the case may be, will complete the investigation in respect of cases triable by the court within 30 working days and will send the report directly to the court.
If the investigation is not completed within a period of 30 days, the investigating officer or the JIT will within three days forward to the court through the public prosecutor an interim report, stating therein the result of investigation made until then and the court will commence the trial on the basis of such interim report. The court will proceed with the trial on a day-to-day basis and decide the case within seven days, failing which the matter shall be brought to the notice of the chief justice of the high court concerned for appropriate directions.
Before commencement of the trial, the prosecutor shall scrutinise the case file to ensure that all pre-trial formalities have been completed. Screens may be used during trial to shield witnesses, judges and prosecutors from public view; trial may be held in jail premises or through video link. The federal government may transfer the investigation of any case from one place to any other place in the country.