HRCP deplores Protection of Pakistan Bill


Lahore: Describing the Protection of Pakistan Bill adopted by parliament this week as a blatant attack on the fundamental rights of the people, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has condemned the government for deliberately following the model of a police state.

In a statement issued here on Friday, HRCP said it was appalled at the failure of parliament to block the passage of the Protection of Pakistan Bill, a draconian legislation to the core.” It seems the period of eight months since the first version of this pernicious law was promulgated as an ordinance was spent on a fruitless exercise to turn an innately black measure white. While the Senate did increase a few safeguards against the capricious use of the powers granted to law enforcing agencies, it achieved little more than giving the bitter pill a thicker coating of sugar.”

HRCP said: “The law enforcing personnel still have the power to open fire on anyone they declare to be a suspect and they still have unbridled authority to detain people, not only for 60 days but for longer periods. The addition of broadly defined ‘militants’ and insurgents to the list of the security agencies’ targets makes the measure more sinister than before.”

The loose language of the bill and the power allowed to the government to add new offences to the schedule heighten fears of the enactment’s abuse, especially in areas such as Balochistan where political dissent has long been construed as sedition, it said.

In its efforts to make a law that directly attacks the people’s civil rights, the government has done a disservice to justice and democracy both, a decision that will cause a lot more misery to innocent people than enemy aliens, HRCP said.

HRCP called upon all fair-minded lovers of democracy and human rights to continue their resistance to the measure till the authorities can see light and realize the need for undoing their folly.

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