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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Interior expressed serious concerns over the increasing number of target killings in Peshawar, the use of Afghanistan-issue SIMs as well as the misuse of Pakistani SIMs in terrorist activities.

The committee met with Mohsin Aziz in the chair which took important questions regarding the performance of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), and the issue of Pakistani identity cards being issued to Afghan citizens was also brought before the committee.

The committee put forward questions before the NADRA officials and said that the committee would discuss these in the next meeting.

The chairman committee questioned the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on how to renew the issued SIM cards. Can it be verified? What is the control of the PTA on the franchise? And How can the PTA control all the vendors?

The committee gave instructions to prepare a report in consultation with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the Ministry of Home Affairs, the CTD, the PTA, and the NADRA to prevent fake/Afghan SIMs and fake/Afghan ID cards in order to control crimes.

The FIA officials briefed the committee about the Greece boat accident, they said that there were 317 Pakistanis in the boat, in which, 12 crew members survived while 290 dead bodies are still missing, they further said that the Greek authorities sent fingerprints of which 15 have been identified.

The FIA officials said that the Prime Minister has also formed a committee on the matter which will prepare its report soon. The chairman committee issued orders to the FIA officials to submit the report to the committee as well.

The Standing Committee adjourned the bill, “The Criminal Laws Amendment Bill 2023” presented by Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed for further discussion. The mover said that the word “unsound mind” should be replaced with “mental disorder” in the act. The additional secretary interior said that a detailed discussion is needed on this bill in the presence of experts.

The chairman committee said that this bill has been delayed for eight months. After the discussion, the committee postponed the discussion on the bill until the next meeting. The chairman committee issued instructions to the Ministry of Interior to prepare proposals regarding this amendment bill and submit it to the committee within 15 days and said that there is no room for further delay in this regard.

The joint bill, “The Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill 2023” presented by Senator Mushtaq and Senator Samina Zahra was discussed - the bill is about private prisons. Senator Chandio said that there is no private prison in Sindh. He Invited the committee to come and observe anywhere in Sindh wherever they indicated.

The chairman committee said that the ICT, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has agreed to the bill. Senator Mushtaq said that at present, there are 71 private prisons in Balochistan alone - Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar said that there are laws in this regard in some form in the Pakistan Penal Code. He said, “Give us time, Senator Shahadat Awan along with the Ministry of Interior will bring this bill in front of you people in a better form.” After the discussion on the bill, the committee suggested Minister of Law and Justice, Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar and Shahadat Awan to further improve the bill in 15 days.

The Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order (Amendment) Bill 2023 by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, which is related to the prohibition of liquor business, was also discussed. Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar said that there was a national consensus on this bill. It is necessary, we ask for the report of Law and Justice on this. The committee has asked for a report on the matter from the Ministry of Law and Justice within 15 days in the next meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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