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Pak hardline party submits Bill in parliament seeking clipping of intelligence agencies' draconian

Islamabad, Sun, 05 Feb 2012 ANI

Islamabad, Feb 5 (ANI): Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) senators have reportedly submitted a bill in Pakistan's Upper House of Parliament, seeking a reduction in powers of ntelligence agencies regarding preventive detention.


JI senators Professor Khurshid Ahmad, Professor Muhammad Ibrahim Khan and Aafiya Zia signed the bill that was submitted to the Senate Secretariat, The Daily Times reports.


The bill demands that handing over any citizen to a foreign country should be prohibited without the prior permission of the high court, and that Articles 9 and 10 of the constitution need to be amended for the purpose, the bill read.


The statement of objects and reasons of the bill says the "forced disappearance by intelligence agencies or others has taken a form of state terrorism and hundreds of Pakistanis are allegedly kept in the custody of state agencies without any opportunity of being heard at any judicial forum; while their families know nothing about the whereabouts of their loved ones".


It said intelligence and law enforcement agencies had been "misusing" provisions related to preventive detention in the constitution.


"Recently many violent incidents have taken place, the tails of which go to intelligence agencies. It is necessary to cut short the powers of intelligence agencies in case of preventive detention to a reasonable limit and ensure the right of a fair trial for every detained person," the bill says.


It also proposed to reinstate the maximum duration of "one month" for preventive detention without being heard as "it was in the original text of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, before the Third Constitutional Amendment was made in 1975 that had increased this period to three months".


It further says that a detained person should be informed about charges against him "as soon as possible, but not later than one week". The bill binds the detaining authority to establish a contact between a detainee and his family within a week after his detention.


The bill proposes that the review board shall consist of sitting judges of the superior judiciary in order to ensure complete transparency and impartiality.


"In case a person is detained without affording him the opportunity of a fair trial and without informing his relatives or any of his rights is infringed, the authority making order of preventive detention and persons carrying out such illegal order shall be deemed to have committed the offence of abduction or wrongful confinement and shall be tried in the court of law," the bill statement reads. (ANI)


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