KARACHI: Justice (retired) of Supreme Court of Pakistan and former chief justice of Sindh High Court (JHC) Justice Wajihuddin Siddiqui has said the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance (PPO) is contrary to the provisions of the constitution of Pakistan and all stakeholders including government, judiciary and political parties must play their due role to safeguard the human rights and basic liberties of the citizens.
Addressing a seminar on human rights, organized by Pasban-e-Pakistan at Karachi Press Club (KPC) here Thursday, he said plainclothes have been harassing people with impunity. He said the Supreme Court of Pakistan may order the police to arrest the accused in Parveen Rehman case. He said we all are responsible for the present situation and the government, political parties and judiciary have to correct their directions. He said if necessary amendments are made in the anti-terrorism act, there would be no need of the PPO.
He said the present government got the PPO approved from parliament in July 2013 and said it would announce the date from which it would be implemented. He said in this regard, it was also announced to establish special courts that are still to be set up.
He said as per this ordinance in case of seeing any crime serious activity, the authorized military and non-military officials could open firing. He said now this ordinance has been challenged in the court even before its implementation; therefore, all what is being done in the garb of this ordinance is illegal.
He said this ordinance is against article 10 and 10-A of the constitution of Pakistan. He said as the constitution guarantees the right of life of citizens, this ordinance is against it. He claimed on one hand extra-judicial killings are happening in the garb of this ordinance. He said on the other hand the country is facing drone attacks. Moreover, a military operation is under way in northern areas. Whole country especially Karachi and Balochistan are braving targeted killings, kidnappings for ransom and different terrorist mafias have been enjoying a free hand. He said like the spy novels that we read in youth, strong body masters have been roaming everywhere to harass the citizens.
Quoting the example of Parveen Rehman murder, he said she was killed on 13th March 2013 but the killers are yet to be arrested. He said previous day during the hearing of this case, DIG Karachi Sultan Khawaja told the court that Parveen Rehman possessed such documents and maps which showed that the land grabbers were affiliated to a particular political party.
He said the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance and Protection of Pakistan Act both are unnecessary and if proper amendments are introducing in the anti-terrorism act, it would be sufficient to serve the purpose. He said with the introduction of the right laws the USA and UK had successfully overcome the terrorism in their countries, besides safeguarding the human rights and basic liberties.
MNA Dr Arif Alvi, the member of core committee of PTI, said we are not satisfied with the PPO. He said his party presented maximum amendments to improve the ordinance. He said he himself tabled 42 amendments on the forum of assembly, but the government while finalizing the ordinance accepted about 20 amendments and rejected other 12 basic amendments that were necessary to safeguard the rights of citizens.
Siddiqui said this is why the PTI did not vote in the favor of this ordinance. He said we still have reservations on this ordinance and we think the concentration of power unnecessarily is against the basic rights of citizens.
Pasban e Pakistan President Altaf Shakoor said that Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarian (PPPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tahreek Insaf (PTI) are responsible for the approval of the PPO, whom it termed a ‘black law’. He asked the leadership of these parties to apologize with the nation for chaining it in this slavery.
He said the PPPP and PML-N directly voted in the favor of PPO, while the PTI supported it indirectly by not taking part in voting. He said though the PTI was playing a laudable role for making a new Pakistan, but how a new Pakistan could be formed if the nation is enslaved with the black laws like PPO. He asked Bilawal Zardari, Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan to apologize with the nation for passing the PPO and take efforts to revoke it.
Aafia Movement Pakistan leader Dr Fowzia Siddiqui said keeping a citizen in custody without informing his family even for three hours is too much, and the PPO gives free hand to agencies to keep one in its detention for three months. She said Dr Aafia Siddiqui was also kept in illegal detention exact in this manner. She said the PPO was formed on the pattern of the US Homeland Security Act. She said the biggest injustice with Dr Aafia Siddiqui was that she was kidnapped and kept as missing person in illegal study for five years and later given 86 years imprisonment without sufficient proofs and a fair trial.
Asad Iqbal Butt, Vice President of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that the most dangerous aspect of the PPO is that it would be misused against protesters. The government can whisk away these protestors terming them as anti-country elements and even killed silently and no one would be made responsible. He said this is blatant violation of human rights.
Noted cardiologist, Dr Abubakar Shaikh, said depriving the citizens of their basic rights is a serious crime. They can never be killed extra-judicially or tortured. He also strongly condemned the conspiracies of the USA, UK, Israel and India against the solidarity and safety of Pakistan.
Pasban-e-Pakistan General Secretary Usman Moazzam, Noreen Advocate, architect Aftabuddin Qureshi, Tarif Jameel and Pasban Karachi chapter president Shaikh Muhammad Shakeel also spoke.