Senator Mushtaq seeks detailed debate on Official Secrets Act bill

Senator Mushtaq Ahmed on Wednesday said that the government intends to pass the Official Secrets Act bill from Senate today.

Jamaat Islami senator in a tweet said that the bill has been put on the house business agenda and the government wants to get it approved today.

“It will be the violation of the rules and to make the Parliament futile,” the tweet read.

“The Official Secrets Act bill has been a strategic document, which required detailed debate over it,” Senator Mushtaq said.

“If this bill approved in the present shape, the country could turn into an open jail,” he wrote. “The passage of this bill will provide extraordinary powers of arrests, searches and confiscatiions to authorities,” JI parliamentarian tweeted.

“The Official Secrets Act Bill has been violation of Article 9 and 10-A of the constitution and it could have impact over human rights, human liberties and freedom of media,” Senator Mushtaq warned.

“The government should require sending the bill to the concerned committee of the house,” he said.

The federal cabinet in a session in July had decided to amend the Official Secrets Act 1923 to modify the law in accordance with the modern-day needs, sources said.

A cabinet session chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif given its approval for amending the Official Secrets Act 1923.

Under the amendments, the laws related to the Official Secrets will be modified in accordance with the modern-day needs. Sources told ARY News that the role of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) would be enhanced, and it will be included as an investigation institution.

A framework will be formulated to enhance coordination between major investigation institutions and their roles. The federal government will also upgrade law related to the mechanism of joint investigation teams’ formation for probing into the secret data.

Sources added that the amendments aim to enhance the protection of the information related to the national security.

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