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Event Title: Senate Standing Committee on Interior

Event Date: 2020-02-10

The Senate Standing Committee on Interior in its meeting on Tuesday strongly condemned the ongoing longest curfew in Kashmir on its 190th day and urged the international community to take notice of gross human rights violation and humanitarian crisis in Indian occupied Kashmir. The Committee also observed one minute silence for the Chinese victims of Coronavirus and expressed solidarity with the people and government of China. 

The meeting was chaired by Senator A. Rehman Malik and was attended by Senator Kulsoom Parveen, Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi, and Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen and officials from Ministry of Interior, Law and Justice, FIA, PTA and other concerned departments.

At the outset, Senator A. Rehman Malik strongly condemned the ongoing Indian forces brutalities against oppressed Kashmiris and the 190 days longest curfew in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. He said that the committee will continue to condemn the brutal curfew by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir and will express solidarity with people of Kashmir who are struggling for their legitimate right of self-determination under UNSC resolutions. The committee also condemned the ongoing ceasefire violation by Indian Forces across Line of Control and targeting the civilian population. Senator A. Rehman Malik said that to divert world’s attentions from Indian Forces brutalities in Kashmir and from the countrywide protests against discriminatory citizenship law, PM Modi is creating chaos on LoC. He said, “The Indian forces along the Line of Control (LoC) and working boundary are continuously targeting civilian populations with artillery fire and automatic weapons, which is highly condemnable and sheer violation of international human rights and the UN laws.” He urged the Government to take the case of continuous unprovoked ceasefire violation and targeting civilian population by India to the United Nations General Assembly and International Court of Justice (ICJ). He advised the government to request the United Nations Secretary General during his upcoming visit to Pakistan, to appoint a special commission to investigate all ceasefire violations by India and increase the strength of Military Observers across LoC.

The Senate Standing Committee on Interior also observed a minute's silence for victims of Coronavirus in China. Senator A. Rehman Malik said “We (Pakistanis) express our sorrows over the loss of many lives because of deadly Coronavirus and full solidarity with the people of China”. He said that in these difficult moments we stand by the brave people of China and hope they will combat the deadly Coronavirus soon and successfully. He said that he had taken notice of the Pakistani students stranded in China after the breakout of Coronavirus in different provinces of the China and has asked the Ministry of Interior to take all the measures for their safe return. He said that the spread of the Coronavirus in China has created chaos and scare throughout the world and Pakistani citizens are equally at risk. He said that many Pakistani students stranded in China have contacted him and has received many messages on social media from them demanding their safe return at the earliest. He shown his serious concern over the matter as other countries have already evacuated their citizens and students from China but Pakistani students have not yet been rescued. He said that in this regard he talked with Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan who assured his full support to the Pakistani students stranded in China. He said that Chinese Ambassador told him that they have successfully discovered the antidote of the Coronavirus and will be eliminating it fully soon. He directed the Ministry of Interior to establish isolation centres at each Pakistani airport and thoroughly check all the international passengers for Coronavirus. Committee observed that passengers arriving from China are not being checked up properly for Coronavirus at airports as there is no such arrangements. Senator A. Rehman Malik directed that the travel history of all passengers arriving Pakistan through international flights should be checked for the origin of their journey as many from China are arriving Pakistan through transit flights.  He asked the Ministry of Interior that all the Airlines should be asked to provide the list of the passengers, their origin of flights with details and all should be screened for coronavirus at their arrival at airports throughout the country. He said that all measures should be taken to stop the spread of Coronavirus in Pakistan. Committee directed that all Chinese working on CPEC should be checked up and medical clearance certificate should be issued to them.

In the meeting Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi raised the matter of converting the house of former finance minister Ishaq Dar in Lahore into a Panahgah (shelter home). The Committee strongly condemned the act of converting Senator Dar’s house into Panahgah and termed it an act of political victimization. The Chairman Committee Senator Rehman Malik said that there is thin line between accountability and victimization and such act of victimization should be discouraged and condemned by all. He said that it seems some Einstein in Punjab government is conspiring against Prime Minister Imran Khan as the said move is against the orders of the Court. He directed the Ministry of Interior to look into the matter and submit a detail report to the Committee within three days.

Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi also raised the issue of escape of former spokesperson of banned TTP Ehsanullah Ehsan and the seriousness of his alleged audio message. The Chairman Committee Senator A. Rehman Malik directed the Ministry of Interior to submit a detail report on the escape of Ehsanullah Ehsan and his audio message.

The Senate Standing Committee on Interior in its meeting unanimously passed “The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (Ordinance No. VII)” after through deliberations. In the said Act, in section 5, the Committee proposed that one member from the opposition and one member from Treasury benches from the Senate of Pakistan and National Assembly to be nominated by the Chairman Senate Speaker , National Assembly respectively for the Board of governors of NACTA.  The Bill was proposed by Senator Azam Khan Swati, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs.

The Committee deferred “The Islamabad Prevention of Beggary Bill, 2019” by Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh, “The Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained or under Custodial Investigation Bill, 2019” by Senator Farooq Hamid Naek and the matter regarding “The large number of foreigners living in the province of Sindh have illegally been issued CNICs by NADRA” raised by Senator Sassui Palijo in the House,  due to non-presence of the respective movers.

The Committee discussed the matter of quality of drinking water being supplied to Parliament House, Parliament Lodges and other areas of Islamabad. Senator A. Rehman Malik, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior had taken the notice of contaminated water being supplied in Islamabad. He said that contaminated water is causing is serious diseases to the citizens of Islamabad and directed the Director PCRWR and CDA to submit a detail report to the Committee on the quality of water and brief the committee in next meeting.

The matter regarding grabbing money through anonymous and fraudulent calls on the pretext of Jazz Cash and other illegal online transfer of money was also discussed in the meeting. The Chairman Committee directed the FIA to take stringent action against those who are involved in these illegal activities across the country as the victims are mostly poor people. The Chairman Committee directed PTA to apprise the Committee as under what law the Cellular Companies are dealing with monetary matters and under what law they are issued licenses. He also directed that in this regard guidelines from State Bank of Pakistan should be sought to regulate all these activities and to stop misuse of the these services. He said in this regard he talked to the Governor State Bank of Pakistan who assured full assistance to the concerned authorities in regulating the on-line transfer of money. He expressed his displeasure over the absence of representative of Jazz and directed PTA to issue show cause notice to the said company.  He directed that representatives from all cellular companies operating in Pakistan and dealing with financial transactions should appear in the next meeting of the Committee.

Riaz Ali Turi,
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