A parliamentary body on Friday expressed serious annoyance over delay in reply of the Ministry of Interior regarding implementation status of recommendations of the committee about 300 missing persons, and decided to move a privilege motion against the ministry in the Senate.
The meeting, which met with Senator Nasreen Jalil in the chair, while taking notice of non-seriousness and delay in reply by the Ministry of Interior over implementation status of recommendations made by the committee during the last meeting, decided to move privilege motion against the ministry in the Upper House.
The senior officials of the Ministry of Law and Justice informed the committee that the recommendations made by the committee regarding missing persons, were totally relevant to the Ministry of Interior; therefore, they had forwarded them to the Ministry of Interior to submit a reply.
Despite repeated reminders, the Interior ministry is yet to submit its reply over implementation status of the recommendations, the officials added. Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini said that reply of MoI should have come over recommendations of the committee.
Senator Mohsin Khan Leghari said that the Ministry of Interior did not cooperate with the committee; therefore, a privilege motion should be moved against it in the Senate.
Farhatullah Babar said that under the law if a ministry fails to submit reply within 60 days and then the same is bound to inform the Secretariat about the reasons behind the delay.
The committee also discussed the recommendations in detail over implementation on Blasphemy Law in Pakistan and proposed amendments with respect to procedural changes to check misuse of this law. Nasreen Jalil said that the committee rules out any amendment in Blasphemy Law and is just making efforts to improve the implantation procedure of the said law.
Federal Minister for Human Rights Kamran Michael said that no action was taken against those who misused Blasphemy Law or those who levelled baseless allegations. Senator Babar said that the Senate Committee on Law and Justice headed by Raja Zafarul Haq in 1991 had taken up the Blasphemy Law, but unfortunately its recommendations were confined to the archives for unknown reasons.
He said that the committee can devise its future course of action in the light of the 1991 Senate Committee report recommendations. He disclosed that quarter of a century ago the Criminal Law (Third Amendment), Bill 1991 seeking mandatory death penalty for blasphemy had been introduced in the Senate on November 4, 1991.
The Bill was promptly referred to the Standing Committee on Law and Justice on that day, he added. In its report, the committee had observed that there was need for a more specific definition of the offence under section 295 PPC (Blasphemy), because in the words of the committee itself the law “in its present form was much generalised.”
Chairman National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), Ali Nawaz Chohan said that the NCHR has recommended that the cases registered under Blasphemy Law should be investigated by senior officers of the police. It was also recommended that there should be provision for repentance in the Blasphemy Law, he added.
Nasreen Jalil said that the committee will prepare future course of action regarding Blasphemy Law in the light of a 1991 Senate Committee report. The committee also discussed “The Hindu Marriage Bill, 2016” in detail and the committee decided to call Hindu members of the National Assembly and the Senate in the next meeting before the approval of the bill.
Legal Consultant for Human Rights, Sharafat A Chaudhry while presenting Hindu Marriage Bill, 2016, explained that laws related to family are “personal laws”, which aim to protect religious rights as per belief of the individuals. Sharafat informed the committee that the Hindu Marriage Bill will provide mechanism for registration of Hindu marriage, which includes conditions for contracting the marriage, procedure for dissolution of the marriage and the grounds on the basis of which such marriage can be dissolved.
The committee also discussed “The Juvenile Justice System (Amendment) Bill, 2016.” Sharafat further informed the committee that the Juvenile Justice System Bill, 2016, a private member bill moved by Senator Azam Swati, proposes that “it shall extend to the Islamabad Capital Territory; however, the government’s Bill on the same matter extends to the whole of Pakistan.”
“Since the Juvenile Justice falls under the purview of criminal law, hence it should extend to the whole of Pakistan,” Sharafat said to which Azam Swati agreed. Senators Sitara Ayaz, Nisar Muhammad, Dr Jamaldini, Mohsin Leghari, Mufti Abdul Sattar and Samina Abid attended the meeting.