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NA adopts Anti Terrorism (Amendment) Act 2014

Anti Terrorism (Amendment) Act 2014

Pakistan News : The National Assembly Friday unanimously adopted Anti Terrorism (Amendment) Act 2014, aimed at strengthening effectiveness of law enforcement agencies to tackle heinous crimes.

The bill provides amendment in the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. It was moved by Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Chaudhry Barjees Tahir.

The House accorded its consent to the Act clause by clause. The Senate has already passed it with some amendments.

The statement of objects and reasons say: “Due to the increasing terrorism in the country, more legislative measures are required to enhance the effectiveness of the law enforcing agencies in tackling heinous crimes, specially conferring powers of investigation on Rangers, providing legal cover to Joint Investigation Team (JIT), enabling police to become complainants in extortion cases and special provisions for projections of witnesses (faceless) through video recording.

Through an amendment in anti terrorism act 1997 the firing orders (as last resort in peculiar circumstances) has been given to a  police officer ofBS-17 and equivalent rank in case of a member of Armed Forces or Civil Armed Forces or by a Magistrate on duty. The decision to fire shall in no case extend to the inflicting of more harm than is necessary to prevent the terrorist act of scheduled offence which has given rise to the reasonable apprehension of death or grievous hurt.

All cases of firing which have resulted in death or grievous injury shall be reviewed by an internal inquiry committee, constituted by head of the law enforcement agency concerned.

In sub section (2) following provisio has been added allowing Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to investigate the detention orders issued by the armed forces or civil armed forces under sub section (1).  The JIT shall be comprising members of armed forces or civil armed forces, as the case may be, intelligence agencies and other law enforcement agencies, including a police officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police.

The JIT shall complete the investigation in respect of cases triable by the court within thirty working days and forward directly to court.

Where the provisions of  section 4 and 5 have been invoked the investigation shall be conducted by the JIT comprising members of armed forces or civil armed forces, as the case may be, intelligence agencies and other law enforcement agencies including an investigating officer of police not below the rank of inspector who shall sign the report under section 173 of the Code and forward it to the court.

Where inquiry is not completed within thirty days from the recording of the FIR under section 154 of the Code, the investigation officer of theJIT shall, within three days after expiration of such period forward to the court through the Public Prosecutor an interim report under section 173 of the code, stating therein the result of investigationmade until then and the court shall commence the trial on the basis of such interim report, unless, for the reasons to be recorded the count decides that the trial may not so commence.

The interim report shall be singed by the investigating officer of police. Sub Section (7) has been substituted asking Court to decide the case within seven days after holding day to day trial. On failure the matter shall be brought to the notice of the Chief Justice of the High court concerned for appropriate directions, keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the case.

A new section has been added in the Act which allows punishment of upto two years with imprisonment or with fine or both to an investigation officer dishonestly and falsely involves, implicates or arrests a person alleged to have committee any scheduled offence. However the action against the officer shall not be taken without prior approval of the Government.

After sub-section (2) following proviso has been added allowing the federal government to transfer the investigation of any case from one place to any other place in Pakistan. The investigating officer or the agency to which case is transferred may proceed with the  stage the inquiry or investigation was left.’ (APP)

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