Pakistan parliament moves to bring ISI under civilian control

The Senate has recommended an effective role of Parliament in monitoring the spy agency while giving it power to arrest and detain

In a bid to bring Pakistan’s powerful ISI under civilian control, the Senate has recommended an effective role of Parliament in monitoring it while giving the spy agency power to arrest and detain.

A report unanimously adopted by the Standing Committee on Human Rights was presented in the house last Wednesday and was endorsed by the Senate. The Committee had taken note of enforced disappearances a year ago and had formed a sub-committee to look into it. (more…)

National Forum on Parliamentary Best Practices 2012 – Pakistan

The National Consultation for Pakistan was held in Islamabad on the 29th of August 2012. Among the attendees were the Members of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Honorable Shahnaz Wazir Ali from Pakistan People’s Pasrty and Honorable Bushra Gohar from the Awami National Party.

Other participants included civil society activists, policy makers, lawyers, and the media. The main issues discussed were the role of women parliamentarians, quantity and quality of legislation and the role of media in covering parliament.

Parliament Watch, Pakistan – September 2010 Report

The 24th session of the National Assembly of Pakistan was held in September 2010. It continued for three days after commencing on 2nd September 2010. Due to the heavy floods in Pakistan much of the session’s focus remained on the situation arisen due to destruction caused by those devastating floods. This special session was called on the requisition of the opposition party in parliament, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN). The House proceedings began with special prayers for those killed by the floods and the suicide bomb attacks on a Shia procession.

Lawmakers in this session urged the government to launch judicial inquiries into why irrigation officials breached dams at critical locations, which has led to the inundation of major population centers with floodwaters. Continuing their discussion over flood disaster, lawmakers from various political parties reiterated their claim that influential politicians had forced the authorities to breach the embankments, and demanded the culprits be brought to justice.

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Parliament Watch Pakistan – August 2010 Report

It was again the Standing Committee on Human Rights of the National Assembly (NA) of Pakistan that met in August 2010 at the Parliament House and focused on various issues connected with human rights. The Committee in its meeting on August 3, 2010 expressed deep sorrow over the sad incident of the plane crash at Islamabad that resulted in the death of more than 152 passengers. It also regretted over the target killings in Karachi. It condemned the incident of Plane crash and appealed to the Government of Pakistan on the automation and computerization of the landing and the take off of planes in all airports of Pakistan.

Condemning the target killings in Karachi, it proposed that new scientific methods, cameras etc and security equipment should be installed as security measures, instead of deputing uniform civil and armed persons. It expressed concern over hoarding of arms/ammunition in the country and appealed to revise the process of issuance of licenses declaring it essential for the safety of citizens, their basic right. The Committee also approved, with certain amendments, the National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) Bill, 2008.

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Parliament Watch Pakistan – July 2011 Report

The National Assembly of Pakistan’s Monitoring Committee of Human Rights met in July 2010 at the Parliament House and focused on finalizing future guidelines and strategy to curb food adulteration in the country. The Committee expressed sorrow over the situation in which people of Pakistan could not dream of having pure and hygienic water, milk, milk products, meat and other edibles as they are the most adulterated items. Adulteration and contamination in edibles especially beverages, bottled water, cooking oil/ghee, spices, food colour, tea, sweeteners like sugar, sweetmeats and bakery products, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetable products remain a constant threat to the health of the citizens of Pakistan.

The Committee in its observations said that milk and water remain the most adulterated food items and that no city or locality of the country can be considered free from the presence and open sale of adulterated edibles. People are suffering from serious health threats arising with increasing adulteration in food items. Nutritionists say that use of substandard bottled water and adulterated milk, which contained water from ponds, could cause diarrhoea and dysentery while use of thickeners can cause cancer.

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Parliament Watch, Pakistan – May 2010 Report

The 22nd session of the 13th Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was held in May 2010 and continued for 10 working days after commencing on 3rd May 2010. Legislation, call attention notices, resolutions, motions, discussions on issues of public interest were among the business conducted in this month.

As far as the business of the House regarding human rights was concerned, an important development was the introduction of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2010, brought forward by Member of the House, Shakila Khanum Rasheed. Reasons for the Bill state that “Offences of kidnapping and abduction with their various shades are increasing at an alarming rate in the society making everybody unsafe and insecure. Parents after sending their kids, sons and daughters to schools or other places of learning remain in the grip of fear till their kids return to home.

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Parliament Watch, Pakistan – June 2010 Report

The 23rd session of the National Assembly of Pakistan was held in June 2010 and continued for 24 days after it commenced on 3rd June 2010. Although, it was mainly a budget session for the fiscal year 2009-10 and much of the focus of the parliamentarians remained on budget related issues, some other important business particularly having connection with human rights was also part of the agenda of the House proceedings.

One such item on the agenda was the introduction of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Ordinance 2010. It aims to mitigate the hardships being faced by women. It proposed amendments in the Code of Criminal Procedure 1998 regarding extending the concession of bail to women except in the cases of offences relating to terrorism, financial corruption, murder or offences punishable with death or imprisonment for life. It also proposes that the court, with regards to the facts and circumstances of the case, may release the accused women on bail even in the above said cases.

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Parliament Watch, Pakistan – April 2010 Report

The 21st session of the 13th Constituent Assembly of Pakistan continued for seven working days. The session commenced on April 1, 2010 and ended on 9th of the same month. Business conducted during the House proceedings includes legislation, call attention notices on public issues, motions and resolutions.

In this month, the parliament unanimously passed The Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Bill, 2010 which is now being regarded as the most important development regarding the constitution of Pakistan made with full consensus. Pakistan’s democratic system has been derailed several times due to martial laws and military interventions that have also caused changes in the 1973 constitution of Pakistan. The non democratic regime particularly of former President General (Retd) Pervaiz Musharaf that came into power at different times centralized all authority and thus altered the structure of the constitution from a parliamentary form to quasi presidential form of government through the eighth and seventeenth amendment.

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Parliament Watch, Pakistan – March 2010 Report

The 20th session of the National Assembly of Pakistan, which in fact marked the beginning of the third parliamentary year, commenced on March 17, 2010 and ended on March 31st, 2010. Business conducted in this session included legislation, call attention notices, resolutions, and discussions on issues of public interest.

In this session, parliamentarians strongly condemned a bomb blast at the office of an intelligence agency that left more than 13 people dead and dozens critically injured. They condemned the government for failing to maintain law and order in the country and demanded it take immediate steps to curb terrorism and save the lives of the people of Pakistan. Member of the Assembly, Barjees Tahir, through an adjournment motion regarding this incident, said that no place in the country was safe anymore, which was reflected by the recent bombings in various districts of Pakistan.

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Pakistan: Human rights violations – NA panel expresses concerns

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly standing committee on human rights on Friday expressed grave concerns over worst violations of human rights due to deteriorating unrest for the last several years in Parachinar and recommended the Defence Ministry and Army Chief to address the issue by taking an appropriate military intervention in Kurram Agency.

The parliamentary panel also proposed provision of traveling and transportation facilities to residents of Parachinar either by plying ATR airplanes by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) or C-130 service by Pakistan Army. (more…)


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