Pakistan passes strict anti-terrorism bill

[JURIST] Pakistan's parliament [Pakistan Senate official website] on Wednesday passed a new anti-terrorism bill [text; PDF] that detractors are claiming grants excessive power to police. The proposed legislation, known as the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance, allows police to use lethal force, to search buildings without a warrant and to detain suspects at secret facilities for up to 60 days without charge "on reasonable apprehension of commission of a scheduled offense." Opponents to the bill are calling it draconian and question the precedent that it sets for human rights abuses in the country. The bill will become law if signed by President Mamnoon Hussain [official website].

As the main place of operations of the Taliban [JURIST news archive], Pakistan has been a focal point of global anti-terrorism efforts. In June, a Pakistan court lifted [JURIST report] the ban on international travel for former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [JURIST news archive], who was indicted [JURIST report] in March for high treason and implicated in the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto [BBC obituary]. A Pakistani businessman responsible for selling a boat engine used in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks [BBC backgrounder] was cross-examined [JURIST report] in November 2013 before the country's Anti-Terrorism Court. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif [BBC profile] claimed [JURIST report] in September 2013 that the country's anti-terrorism laws would be amended to more effectively combat modern threats.

 

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