KARACHI-The Sindh Assembly on Friday unanimously passed ‘The Sindh Habitual Offenders Monitoring Bill, 2022, to allow affixing of an electronic device to the body of habitual offenders for effective monitoring of their movement in view of an alarming surge in street crimes in the province, particularly urban areas.
The bill was introduced last year and was sent to the Standing Committee on Home chaired by Faryral Talpur for further deliberations. During Friday’s sitting, the committee’s member Ghanwer Ali Khan Isran moved the report followed by its clause-by-clause passage.
“It is expedient to check the menace of street crimes and ensuring safer cities and neighborhoods especially the urban areas of the province and for the purpose to ensure the effective monitoring of habitual offenders by using the modern technology,” the statement of objects and reasons of the bill read. The device in the form of an anklet or bracelet contained a central processing unit with global positioning system (GPS) and cellular technology that would allow active, real time and continuous monitoring of offenders round the clock.
The device would be affixed through Magistrate’s order upon application of prosecutor or police officer for the period the accused person remained on bail.
According to the bill, a magistrate would explain the operation and terms and conditions of the electronic device. It also read that any habitual offender who failed to comply with the terms and condition should be guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment up to three years.
“Any habitual offender who tempers with or destroys the electronic monitoring device shall be guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment not exceeding three years but not less than one year and fine of one million. He should also be liable to pay for any damage to the electronic monitoring device arising from his action,” the bill read.
As per the law, a person facing charges of vehicle theft, extortion, robbery, attempt to commit robbery, voluntary causing hurt in committing robbery, dacoity, dacoity with murder and any offence under narcotics Act 1997 could be declared habitual offender.
Meanwhile, The Sindh Explosives Bill, 2019 was also passed unanimously for regulating the matters relating to the manufacture, possession, use, sale, transportation and import of the explosives in the province.
Sindh government to facilitate new companies for electricity distribution license
Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh said that the provincial government would fully support and facilitate the new companies wanted to bid for getting electricity distribution license in Karachi to create competition which would eventually benefit the city’s people. “The K-Electric’s license is going to be expired. Constitutionally, Energy and gas are purely the federal government’s subject and the Sindh government has nothing to do with it,” Shaikh said while assuring all the support from the provincial government for the new companies that wanted to bid for the license. The Minister said that they had already approached the centre for handing over the administrative control of HESCO and SEPCO to the provincial government. He added that since the K-E was a private company, the Sindh government could not pass directives to it.
Shaikh was responding to a call attention notice moved by Tehreek-a-Labbaik Pakistan parliamentary leader Mufti Muhammad Qasim Fakhri who demanded that the KE’s license should not be extended. He said that extending the distribution license of the KE would be against the wishes of the people of Karachi. The TLP lawmaker added that the people of Karachi especially the Baldia Town, his constituency, were facing hardships owing to 16-hour prolonged electricity load-shedding.
Grand Democratic Alliance MPA Arif Mustafa Jatoi through his call attention notice demanded that presidential elections should be held before completion of current assemblies’ term. He said that President Dr Arif Alvi’s term was going to be completed on 9th September 2023 and at that time there would be no assemblies for electing the new President.
Jatoi said that the current assembly members cannot be deprived of the right to vote in the presidential election.
“I have written a letter to the Speaker Sindh Assembly and will also approach the Election Commission of Pakistan,” he added.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla said that the Sindh government was not the competent authority to hold the presidential elections, asking the GDA member to approach the concerned forum.
“The PPP is ready to contest the elections whenever held,” Mukesh added. Later, the house was adjourned to Monday.