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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Police on Monday disproved the United States embassy's warning to its citizens regarding the alleged recent surge in street crimes in Islamabad, and added that there was a decline in street and other crime rates compared to previous years.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior met under the Chairmanship of Raja Khurram Shahzad Nawaz, where the Inspector General ICT Police briefed the committee on the alert issued by the United States embassy informing the American citizens living in Islamabad that the number of crimes, including mugging, armed robberies and theft of mobile phones, purses and automobiles, had increased in the city.

The US citizens were also asked to keep a low profile and avoid displaying signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive jewelry or watches, and be vigilant, while visiting banks or ATMs.

The ICT police disproved the US embassy's warning to its citizens regarding the alleged recent surge in street crimes in Islamabad. It was further added that there was a decline in street and other crime rates compared to previous years.

The Committee directed the ministry to submit a report on the matter to the Committee. The Committee considered the bill titled, "The Covid-19 (Prevention of Hoarding) Bill, 2020", and after detailed discussion, the Committee recommended that the bill may be passed by the National Assembly with amendments proposed by the Committee.

According to the objects of the bill, a novel coronavirus (Covid-l9) has spread over the world including Pakistan, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it as a pandemic disease requiring multi-faceted responses.

Pakistan is a state party to the International Health Regulations, 2005 issued by the WHO, according to which, Pakistan is under a direct obligation to prevent, protect against, control and provide public health response to international diseases.

Events of hoarding contribute to adversities and geometric progression to the people at large, especially in circumstances of partial or complete lockdown. Since, Pakistan has become a victim to the Covid-19, a pandemic disease; there is a dire need to take drastic measures to combat the unusual situation and to ensure smooth supply and availability of essential items to the general public at large.

Therefore, it is expedient and necessary to provide for the prevention of hoarding in respect of specified articles in on emergent situation resulting from outbreak of the coronavirus disease.

The implementation status of the recommendations of the Standing Committee was discussed, and the Committee desired complete report on the matter in the next meeting.

The matter referred by the assembly to the Committee under rule 199 (point of order raised by Mohsin Dawar, MNA) was discussed by the Committee, and the Committee decided to defer the matter till the next meeting.

The Committee considered the bill, "The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2020" (moved by Choudary Faqir Ahmad, MNA), and decided to defer it till the next meeting. The Committee considered the bill, "The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (section 427 to 429, 435 to 440, 447 to 458, 461, 462 and Schedule II of CrPC)", moved by Amjad Ali Khan, MNA, and decided to defer it till the next the meeting.

The Committee considered the bill, "The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (section 500-A)" moved by Amjad Ali Khan, MNA, and decided to defer the bill till the next meeting of the committee.

The Director General Operation, NADRA, briefed the Committee on the implementation status of the recommendations of the Standing Committee. He informed that establishment of new centers as recommended by the Committee was under process and the Committee would be informed accordingly.

There are 402 NADRA registration centers operational in tehsils throughout the country. Presently there are 132 Tehsils, where NADRA Centers do not exist. To cover the area, 176 Mobile Registration Vans are providing registration services.

Moreover, 41 Semi Mobile Registration Units are also working in various Tehsils. The issues faced by residents of Farash Town were discussed in the meeting, and the committee directed the CDA to immediately solve issues of the town including allotment issue, roads, water etc.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020