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Military courts bill referred to a committee again

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National Assembly 1

ISLAMABAD:(APS)March 10,2017-The National Assembly resumed its session in Islamabad on Friday morning with Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi in the chair.

The National Assembly was informed today that 1554 terrorists have been arrested during last year.

Parliamentary Secretary for Interior Muhammad Afzal Khan Dhandla told the House during question hour that out of these 799 were arrested from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 418 from Punjab, 178 from Sindh, 40 from Balochistan and rest from Islamabad Capital Territory, FATA, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan.

To a question, the Parliamentary Secretary said that comparison of crime rates of years 2015 and 2016 shows the declining crime trend in Islamabad Capital Territory. He said preventive measures taken by ICT police have helped to decrease crime in Islamabad. These include survey of Katchi Abadies to flush out criminals hiding there, combing and search operations, random checking of guest houses and hotels and joint patrolling by Panjnad Rangers and ICT police.

Answering a question, Parliamentary Secretary for Interior told the House that Official and Gratis Passports were issued to 2002 non-entitled persons prior to June, 2013. However, these passports were cancelled and made inactive under the present government on the instructions of Minister of Interior. He said now the issuance of Official and Gratis Passports is strictly according to the laid down policy.

To another question, Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan told the House that government borrowings from State Bank of Pakistan during fiscal year 2013-14 were 159.7 billion rupees. However, the government retired SBP borrowings of 434.3 billion rupees and 475 billion rupees during fiscal year 2014-15 and 2015-16 respectively.

He said during the last three and a half years an average amount of 41 billion rupees was borrowed on annual basis, therefore borrowing from SBP is not excessive which may hamper the structural reforms of the economy.

Replying to a question, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan told the House that the growth of Islamic Banking System is more than the normal banking system. He pointed out that the government is encouraging the growth of Islamic Banking System in the country and the people have choice to select Islamic Banking System or Commercial Banking System.

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Constitution (Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill 2017 aimed at restoration of military courts has been introduced in the National Assembly.

It was introduced by Law Minister Zahid Hamid.

He also introduced The Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill 2017.

Two bills were introduced in the National Assembly today.

These are “The Constitution (Twenty-eighth Amendment) Bill, 2017” to further amend the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and “The Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2017” to further amend The Pakistan Army Act, 1952. The House also adopted motions to consider these bills.

These bills were moved by Law Minister Zahid Hamid.

Speaking on the bills, the Minister said in 2015, the Parliament had passed two bills including Twenty-first (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and “The Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2015 giving powers to Military Courts to hear the cases of hardcore criminals. He said positive results were received through these steps.

The Minister said the country is still going through extraordinary circumstances and facing many challenges. Therefore, it is necessary that these measures will continue. He pointed out that under these bills the steps taken in 2015 will get extension. He said the government wants to pass these bills with consensus.

JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman expressed reservations on the bills and said his party cannot support these in the present form. He said that terrorism should not be linked with religion as terrorists have no religion, tribe or nationality. He said the state has the right to eliminate those who pick up the arms against the state.

Dr Azhra Fazal Pechuho of PPP opposed the bills and said these are discriminatory and provide a tool for political persecution.

Shaikh Salahuddin of MQM also expressed reservations on the bills.

Speaker Ayaz Sadiq said there is a need to create consensus on the legislation.

The House passed “The Post Office (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

Moved by Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad, the bill provides to further amend the Post Office Act, 1898.

The House will now meet on Monday afternoon at four.

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