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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Interior on Friday passed the Anti-Rape (Amendment) Bill, 2022 seeking tracking and tracing of habitual sex offenders.

The committee also took up a bill, “Anti-Rape (investigation and trial) (Amendment) Bill, 2022” (insertion of new sections 24A, 24B, and 24 C) moved by committee Chairman Mohsin Aziz.

The committee after detailed deliberations passed the bill with a majority vote. Aziz said that the bill was aimed at tracing and tracking the locations of offenders to restrain them from committing any future offence.

According to the statement of objects and reasons of the bill, the Parliament recently passed the Anti-Rape (investigation and trial) Act, 2022 which requires the establishment of a register of sex offenders.

However, there is a dire need to strictly monitor the movement and activities of such offenders where they can potentially gain access to victims and abuse them sexually.

The bill says that the offender who intends to be absent from his home address for a period of more than three days shall be responsible to inform the local police station 12 hours before leaving that address.

Senator Kamil Agha said that the bill is very important and its strict implementation would play a role to take action against the people involved in this heinous crime. He suggested that only convicted offenders could declare habitual rapists. If a person is not convicted no one can declare him as a habitual offender, he said.

Senator Moula Bux Chandio also said that the convicted and who repeat the crime should be declared habitual. Track and tracing such criminals are mandatory for creating deterrence against the crime, he said.

However, Shahadat Awan said that the passage of the bill should be deferred till the committee receives comments from all the provinces as well as the Ministry of Law and Justice regarding the bill. He also claimed that the bill was against Article 15 of the Constitution, which outlines the freedom of movement of the citizens.

An official of the Ministry of Law also opposed the bill as the amendment proposed is already covered in the existing law.

At the end of the discussion, members of the committee demanded to conduct voting on the bill. When the committee put the bill for voting majority members supported the bill and only senator Shahadat Awan opposed the bill.

The committee also discussed the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022 (insertion of news sections 52B,512, 513 and 514 in the PPC and consequential amendments in schedule-II CrPC) seeking to bring the perpetrators of the heinous crime of enforced disappearances to justice so as to provide some relief to the families whose loved ones have gone missing. The committee deferred the bill till it receives the comments of the ministerial committee headed by the minister for law and justice.

Secretary Ministry of Interior YousafNaseemKhokhar told the committee that the ministerial committee headed by the law minister would soon hold a meeting for further deliberation over the bill; therefore, the parliamentary body needs to defer the bill till the arrival of the report of the ministerial committee.

A senior official of the Law Ministry informed the committee that the amendment proposed in the bill is already present in the existing laws; therefore, there is no need for new legislation in this regard.

The committee also passed the Islamabad Capital Territory Maternity Benefits Bill, 2022 moved by Senator Fawzia Rasheed seeking the provision of maternity benefits to working women as well as to clarify certain provisions of the law and safeguard working women's maternity benefits.

The Capital Development Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2022 introduced by Senator Fawzia Arshad was reviewed. The purpose of the bill is to determine the persons responsible and punishment for the delay in the completion of housing projects in different sectors of the federal capital. The CDA officials and Chief Commissioner Islamabad requested to amend several clauses of the bill. The chairman committee said that such a procedure should be devised with regard to these projects that new projects and schemes should not be approved until the completion of the ongoing projects so that grants can be issued to the projects in time.

The committee members approved the bill after necessary amendments.

The meeting was also attended by Senator Saifullah Abro and Senator Fauzia Rasheed as well as the senior officials of the Ministry of Interior and Law.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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