ISLAMABAD - On the advice of prime minister, President Mamnoon Hussain Sunday promulgated Protection of Pakistan Ordinance aimed at strengthening the hands of law enforcement agencies to quell the mounting acts of terrorism in the country and to provide security to the life and property of the people.
The new ordinance provides provision for establishment of separate police stations designated for professional and expeditious investigations of specified crimes, prosecuted through federal prosecutors. Special Federal Courts shall be designated to render inexpensive justice with promptitude as mandated by Article 37 of the constitution. Those involved in syndicated crime shall be relocated in rest of the country for transparency and fair trial under an environment free of hostage culture.
A week back the president on the advice of prime minister had introduced amendments in the Anti-Terrorist Act 1997 to give more leverage to the law enforcement agencies to tighten noose around the people involved in the terrorism related activities in the country. In the new ordinance it was maintained that the writ of the state would be established at all costs while the security and law enforcement agencies would jointly investigate the incidents of terrorism and the elements creating terror and fear would be considered as enemies of the state.
The ordinance states that Pakistan and its people had been exposed to thankless wars since long and no serious attempt was made for national development over time. It pays tribute to the people and its valiant forces for rendering unprecedented sacrifices and expressed the resolve on part of PMLN government to pull out the people out of the prevailing despair.
It says that all civil and military law enforcement agencies including CAF and their personnel where invited shall be given fullest protection of law to discharge their mission of restoration of peace in enabling environment within the parameters of Part V of the constitution.
Moreover, every possible state instrument and resource will be deployed to defeat and frustrate all or any nefarious attempt to create disorder in our peaceful life and living. Writ of the state shall be restored with full might of the law; those to pursue fruit of terror and fear, regardless of nationality, colour, creed or religion shall be treated as enemy aliens and dealt with strictly without any compunction.
Similarly, the cancer of syndicated crime in all its forms and manifestations shall be responded by proportionate use of state force under the law. Joint investigation Teams shall be constituted to conduct investigations by security agencies and police in all heinous crimes committed in areas where CAF are invited to aid civil power.
The ordinance further maintained that enhanced punishments are being provided for specified crime. Judicious but effective use of preventive detentions shall be made in cases involving serious crime by clever gangs and mafias. The millions of non-Pakistanis on our soil for any reason including distressful conditions in their home country, especially those since 1979, shall not be allowed to abuse the temporary liberty to commit depredation. Moreover, their local collaborators including handlers and facilitators, landlords providing unreported accommodation and protection shall not be spared from the reach of iron hands of law. Special jails shall be designated to detain hardened criminals.
Another significant feature of the Ordinance is that most offences included in the Schedule are already included in the offences specified and defined in extant Pakistan Code and Provincial Codes, e.g. Offences against the ‘State’ as defined in Article 7 of the 1973 Constitution punishable under Chapters VI, VII, VIII and IX of The Pakistan Penal Code 1860, Pakistan Arms Act, or Foreigners Act 1946 etc; however minimum quantum of punishments is now re-determined at 10 years.
It is stated in the ordinance that Pakistan and its people had been exposed to undeclared and thankless wars that proliferated from our neighbourhood since 1979. The elements hostile to our existence in collaboration with unscrupulous locals have since claimed 40,000 lives of all ages and religious denominations in the second campaign that began in 2001 and in which many more were injured, disabled or uprooted. Over three decade long presence of many million aliens on our soil generated its own social complexities.
The people and its valiant forces have rendered unprecedented sacrifices: Over 4,000 Pakistani soldiers and officers lost their lives during last 11 years alone to ensure that world at large remains at peace. As a direct consequence, our economy and its production systems suffered enormously.
The ordinance also states that a colossal damage of over $100 billion was inflicted to our social and physical infrastructure. As unproductive expenses multiplies, for bare minimum subsistence and sustenance, additional loans of over $50 billion were added during the period, besides the $8 billion/annum for debt servicing. Increasing reliance on imports have further squeezed and strained public books and private pockets.
Moreover, non-availability of adequate employment opportunities encourages resort to easy coping mechanisms, unearned easy money via crime that pays instantly. The twin issues of unemployment and rising population are compounded by individual and syndicated crime extensively spreading in settled urban areas exposed to depredation or ‘Kharaba’.
Unfortunately, no serious attempt was made partly due to paucity of resources, lack of vision and political will; and sense of insecurity and mistrust in the people’s wisdom took its own claim at the cost of the nation suffering unprecedented inequality of income and opportunities. It further said that as state organs and judiciary faced legitimacy issues resurrected during most part of last 36 years, phased democratic transition in post-2009 era posed adjustment issues in the wake of eroded capacity of the executive branch as well.
PMLN government, its allies and all democratic forces are cognisant of the historical responsibility to pull out the state and people out of the prevailing gloom and despair. To restore sense of security, through resort to all legal instruments, institutions and deployment of resources has been the top priority of national leadership in all branches, be that elected or permanent, is more than determined to move forward to minimise losses, explore productive potential of the nation by creating enabling environment for revival of faith in our ability to rise above our transient differences to restore our investment climate.
The ordinance said that the extraordinary disposition dictates unusual dispensation. New legislative initiatives have been proposed in line with international best practices, to declare that: the constitution and rule of law shall be our overarching umbrella. Security of life, property and dignified living of our own people shall be the prime goal for all functionaries of the state.