Senate Standing Committee on Interior

Senate Standing Committee on Interior in its meeting on Monday has condemned once again the unprecedented brutalities by Indian Forces in Indian Held Kashmir and the 121st day long curfew in the valley.  The committee decided to send a reminder to Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its earlier recommendation to take the issue up with ICC and ICJ and declaring Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a war criminal.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator A. Rehman Malik here at the Parliament House on Monday and was attended among others by Senators Sardar Shafiq Tareen, Dr. Shehzad Waseem, Kulsoom Parveen, Momin Khan Afridi, Muhammad Tahir Bizenjo, Sajjad Hussain Turi, Mian Ateeq Sheikh, Secretary Interior, Chairman NADRA, DG BOE, Directors FIA, Director NACTA, Director CDA and officials from other ministries.

The Committee discussed in detail ‘The Islamabad Pure Food Authority Bill, 2019’ introduced by Senator Sajjad Hussain Turi and the bill was passed after increasing the punishment from six months to 3 years and including all amendments proposed by the ministry pertaining to administrative aspects of the authority. The Committee appreciated the bill and termed it the need of the hour in face of the ever increasing reports of hazardous food items being imported, sold and supplied across the country. Senator Rehman Malik said that availability of pure food is the responsibility of the government and the bill will prove highly beneficial in this regard. He wished the same Bill should be introduced at provincial levels that can be implemented across the country. He said he had learnt that dead chicken and animals were being sold in Islamabad and other parts of the country.

While discussing the actions taken so far with reference to 70 Pakistanis stranded in Iraq who went there through fake agents, Senator A. Rehman Malik informed that he had taken the notice of the issue and had directed the FIA and BOE to take stringent actions against fake overseas employment agents and those officers of BOE involved in such criminal activities. The Committee discussed the overall situation of poverty and loose administration that lead the people getting in the trap of fake the agents. The Committee discussed the stranded Pakistanis in Turkey as well which serves as a gateway for Europe and was told that 3700 Pakistanis were verified in Turkey after the issue was raised by the Senate Standing Committee on Interior. Chairman Committee directed that the issues of bringing stranded Pakistanis back, verification of these people as well as formulating a mechanism to handle our porous border more efficiently should be ensured to save innocent lives.  DG Bureau of Emigration informed the committee that 21 licences of illegal importers cancelled and 40 suspended, advertisements, mobile numbers also blocked, BOE is live with NADRA and Immigration office and biometric verification is mandatory now. He said that three countries Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia have so far been approached to link their data management with Pakistan and more countries will be approached. December 2018 demand from Iraq embassy received for people to drive trailers, 65 people went there and divided into two groups. 27 people failed the test and they were recalled to Pakistan. He also informed that 38 people did a round but subsequently the local people didn’t want foreigners to drive and work there. They were also recalled. He informed that 1 crore 65 lac was fixed to be paid back to emigrants from the promoter, 96 lac given back to people, the remaining money is also promised to be returned. Senator Rehman Malik directed that case shall be lodged against the promoter and the protector from BOE shall also be included in the FIR. He directed the FIA to appoint a permanent focal person to ensure a constant liaison between FIA and BOE.

The Committee also took up the matter of NADRA’s centres that are functional and closed-down abroad, the Committee was told that 4 overseas centres have been closed on orders of Supreme Court remaining 10 centres are functioning. Chairman Committee Senator Rehman Malik directed NADRA to propose an amendment in NADRA Ordinance to have a NADRA office in any overseas place with more than 20,000 Pakistani diaspora.

Senator Kalsum Parveen pointed out that women are being treated appropriately and are not being provided food and other special needs in jails. Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior Senator Rehman Malik directed the Ministry of Interior to implement the directions already issued by the committee to bifurcate the women jails from men’s. He said that jail manuals are neither implemented nor being updated according to the changing times. He directed that all the provincial home secretaries to submit a detailed report on the condition of jails in their respective provinces and send their proposals to reform Jail Manuals. Chairman Committee decided that jail reforms need to be brought in the form of a bill so that it is all encompassing and applicable throughout the country.

While taking the issue of Kashana Welfare Homes Lahore’s former superintendent allegations that orphan girls were wedded forcibly in five years, Senator Rehman Malik constituted a sub-committee to probe the matter and submit a report. 

Senate Standing Committee on Interior also passed a resolution seeking shifting of former President Asif Ali Zardari’s cases from Islamabad to Karachi. Senator A. Rehman Malik converted the demand of Senator Kulsoom Parveen into a resolution and passed it with majority votes. He said that the Senate committee on interior had taken suo-moto notice about the health of former president Asif Ali Zardari and had urged the government to allow him to get medical treatment from his personal doctor. He added that on November 30th, the committee was informed that his personal physician has been included in the medical board. He further said that all the family members of Asif Ali Zardari are residing in Karachi due to which there is every reason to shift him from Islamabad to Karachi and moreover there is no legal justification that he could be trial in another city than home city. Senator Kulsoom Parveen said that Asif Ali Zardari is not being treated like other people and she seeks the immediate transfer of his case to Karachi.

The matters of discussion on ‘The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2019’, revised master plan of Islamabad, restoration of Kiosks and cabins in Islamabad and functional and closed down passport offices abroad were deferred till the next meeting.

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