ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-) is facing difficulties to get the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance through the Parliament as both of its allies and opposition parties want drastic amendments to it, but the government wants its unanimous passage from the two houses.
As the opposition parties had come up with serious concerns over the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance (PPO), it was referred to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior and Narcotics Control for vetting, but differences among the members were so sharp that consensus has not been developed so far.
The ruling PML-N tasked some of its trusted members who are having comfortable relations with the Opposition parties to ensure their support for the early passage of PPO from the Parliament, but the efforts of these members have so far failed to bear fruit.
The sources aware of the developments taking place on this front informed The Nation on Sunday that even the parties sitting on treasury benches had raised serious concerns over grant of absolute powers to the paramilitary forces which they feared would be abused and used to tame the political opponents.
The sources said the government wanted to get this piece of legislation passed from the Parliament with consensus and could even take time to muster the Opposition parties’ support by addressing the concerns shown by the leaders of some of the opposition parties on it.
Soon after its promulgation, Opposition parliamentarians and the civil society members came up with harsh criticism of some of its clauses and termed it violation of civil liberties and basic human rights.
The PML-N leadership had assured time and again that they would address the concerns of the Opposition parties on it and place it for a thorough debate in both the houses of the Parliament.
All the major parties in the Opposition, including Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, came up with a scathing criticism of the ordinance and feared that the blanket powers of interrogation given to the law-enforcement agencies would be misused and demanded the government remove all the legal lacunae in it.
JUI-F which is sitting with the government on treasury benches and Muttahida Qoumi Movement (MQM) also had openly criticised the ordinance and their members in the NA Standing Committee on Interior and Narcotics Control came up with a series of proposals to remove what they termed the clauses which could be misused by the law-enforcement agencies or even the government could use it for arm twisting of its opponents in future.
The sources said even the leadership of Baloch nationalist parties – National Party and Pakhtunkhawa Milli Awami Party – in their meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had advised him to bring changes in the ordinance as giving absolute powers to the law-enforcement agencies could be misused and used as a a victimisation tool.