ISLAMABAD - Following its past record of deviating from its stance on important issues, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has now postponed its earlier decision to challenge the controversial Protection of Pakistan Bill (PPB) in the Supreme Court, The Nation has learnt.
The PTI in April this year had announced to challenge the Protection of Pakistan Bill, 2014 in the apex court soon after the government had got it passed from the Lower House of the Parliament amid protest of the opposition parties.
Central Information Secretary PTI Dr Shireen Mazari said that the party had postponed its decision to challenge the PPB. “We are not happy with the law but keeping in view the existing security situation and the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan Agency (NWA), we have decided to abstain from doing this,” she said, adding that the government had also incorporated some amendments in the bill proposed by PTI MNA Dr Arif Alvi.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan has also taken such a U-turn when before the launch of operation Zarb-e-Azb, he had said that the launch of operation in the tribal belt of the country would be tantamount to separate it from Pakistan and he himself would talk with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif on the issue. However, soon after the launch of operation, Imran Khan did not oppose the operation rather supported it and only focussed on the issue of internally displaced persons (IDPs) as a result of this operation.
“This law will turn Pakistan into a police state...We have decided to take this law to court and challenge its anti-human rights stance,” PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said outside the Parliament House in April, a day after its passage from the NA.
However, the legal minds of the party including senior lawyer Hamid Khan had proposed to the leadership that the proposed law should be challenged in the court once it is passed from the both the houses of the Parliament and becomes a law. They thought that the Supreme Court would dismiss the petition of PTI on the grounds that it was only a proposed law and had been passed only by the National Assembly.
Now, as the both the houses of the Parliament have recently passed the PPB with amendments and it would soon become an act of parliament after the final signatures of president of Pakistan, the PTI has decided not to challenge the law. After the Senate passed the bill with amendments, it again went to the National Assembly for passage as required under the law, PTI along with its smaller ally in the house, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), had abstained from voting on it on Wednesday last.
Protection of Pakistan Bill, 2014 gives sweeping powers to police, armed and civil armed forces to arrest and detain the suspects, shoot them on site and get them tried in the special court established by the government for this purpose. The bill gives powers to the armed and civil armed forces to detain a person for a period of 90 days. The human rights organisation had raised great hue and cry over the proposed law. The government earlier had promulgated two ordinances, one Protection of Pakistan Ordinance 2013 decreed in October 2013 and other Protection of Pakistan (Amendment) Ordinance 2014 promulgated in January this year. The government had later introduced the PPB in the lower house after combining both of these ordinances.