Meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Interior was held here at Parliament House on Wednesday with Senator Mohsin Aziz in Chair.
The Senate Committee deliberated on the bill titled "The Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2023." Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi, the mover of the bill, stated that the increasing trend of false accusations and malicious criminal prosecution has become an alarming issue these days. The bill aims to enhance the time period of punishment for these offenses by amending Section 182 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Schedule-II of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Special Secretary of the Interior informed the committee that the matter falls under the ambit of the provinces, and a letter has also been written to request their response which is still awaited. However, the committee will be updated after receipt of response. The committee directed the Ministry to submit the provinces' intake within the next ten days.
Furthermore, the Senate body was briefed by Pakistan Coast Guards (PCG) about the functions, performance and achievements of Organization along with it's strength and weaknesses. Additional Director General (PCG) apprised that the major goal of Organization is to prevent smuggling and illegal immigration along the costal belt, however, the PCG draws additional powers from Customs Act, Police Act 1861 and Control of Narcotics Substance Act 1997 for the fulfillment of their objective. Senator Mohsin Aziz inquired about the strength of the Organization. Additional Director General replied that the total strength of PCG is around 5,671 and major portion of officials belongs to Armed Forces. He highlighted that despite the budgetary constraints, the Organization had succeded in seizing 19.25 Ton Narco in last one year, and stopped 2,555 migrants includes Pakistani, Afghani, Iranian and Nigerian from crossing the coastal area illegally. However, he pointed out that a total of 51 officers of all ranks had embraced 'Shahadat' since the organization's inception. The Committee commended the efforts of the PCG in preventing smuggling and suggested that there is a pressing need to strengthen the organization to combat the menace of smuggling in the current era.
Moreover, the Committee discussed the matter of fake Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs) and the availability of citizens' family data in the black market, as well as the issuance of multiple SIMs on a single CNIC, which are being used in illegal activities. The Chairman of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) informed the committee that some NADRA staff and external factors are involved in the issuance of fake CNICs. Additionally, illegal residents succeed in becoming part of native family trees by offering bribes to family members. He added that action has been taken against NADRA employees engaged in any form of illegal activity, with around 84 officials being suspended so far. However, employees escape punishment due to the absence of a law dealing with the 'Privacy of Data Law.' The Committee recommended adopting modern measures to address these issues.
While discussing the problems faced by the Mehsud tribe in acquiring passports in Karachi, the Director-General of Passport and Immigration, Mustafa Jamal Kazi, highlighted that no discrimination is shown to any individual. However, passport issuance is delayed because people from the Mehsud tribe are obtaining their passports in Karachi, whereas the rules state that every citizen should acquire their first passport in their respective district. He further emphasized that despite earning a revenue of 39 billion Rupees last year, the Passport and Immigration department has failed to adopt modern technology, which is a major impediment in the timely issuance of passports. The Committee directed the Director-General of Passport and Immigration to submit details to the committee regarding the issues faced by the department."
The Committee addressed the matter of the Senate Employees Cooperative Housing Society, specifically regarding the details of plot possession, the number of eligible allottees for possession, and the current status of available land for possession. The Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad stated that the society was registered in 1996 and managed to acquire 1,054 kanals of land from 2005 to 2016. He added that the society's name was changed to Federal Residents Cooperative Housing Society after receiving a non-affiliation notice from the Senate of Pakistan. However, Senator Kamil Ali Agha argued that the society was established by the Senate of Pakistan, and the NOC was also issued under the Senate's name. Due to administrative failures, private parties took over the management of the society. Senator Saifullah Abro requested that details of payments made by Senate employees for membership acquisition be submitted to the Committee.The Committee asked its members to provide a list of questions, enabling a thorough discussion of the matter.
The committee also ratified the nomination of Senator Asad Ali Junejo as Member of the BoG of NACTA.
In attendance were Senator Saifullah Abro, Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman, Senator Shahadat Awan, Senator Faisal Ali Subzwari, Senator Fawzia Arshad, Senator Dilawar Khan, Senator Danesh Kumar, Senator Dost Muhammad Khan, Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi, Senator Sherry Rehman, Senator Kamil Ali Agha, Caretaker Federal Minister for Interior Sarfraz Bugti, Secretary Interior Aftab Akbar Durrani, Special Secretary Interior Nadeem Mehboob, Chairman NADRA Lt-Gen (R) Munir Afsar,DG Passport and Immigration Mustafa Jamal Kazi, Additional Director General Pakistan Coastal Guard and other senior officers of relevant departments were also in attendance.