Pakistan’s approves Protection of Pakistan Bill 2014
Pakistan’s National Assembly passed the Protection of Pakistan Bill (PPB) 2014. The PPB which permits security forces to shoot suspects on sight with the permission of a grade-15 official, will now be valid for a period of 2 years. The bill seeks to “provide for protection against waging of war against Pakistan and the prevention of acts threatening the security of Pakistan”. It will provide the law enforcement officials with extra powers.
The approval of the bill is a significant move in light of the military operation in North Waziristan, codenamed ‘Zarb-e-Azb’.
As compared to the previous PPB which stipulated that the law would be enforced in the event of ‘waging of war against Pakistan’, its amended form says, ‘waging of war or insurrection against Pakistan’. Besides, the term ‘enemy alien’ describes a person whose identity as a Pakistan national is unascertainable.
The law limits the use of force to officers of Grade-15 or above and an internal investigation by the head of the relevant law enforcement agency will be conducted in case of death through the use of force. If it is needed, all such cases will be subject to a judicial inquiry.
The remand period for an accused has been fixed at 60 days and, on reasonable basis, the government has the power to confine a detainee for 90 days at a designated internment camp.
The Joint Investigation Team will have the power to keep back a detainee’s information except from a High Court or Supreme Court. The government may not reveal a detainee’s details for security reasons. Besides, on reasonable grounds, the burden of proof lies upon an ‘enemy alien’ or militant.
The list of offences includes cyber crimes and crimes related to information technology, as well as the trespassing national boundaries illegally. Punishments under these crimes can be extended to 20 years. The PPB provides for setting up special courts consultation with the chief justices of the High Courts and decisions by the special courts can contested in the High Courts.