Pakistani Cabinet approves special courts to try terror suspects

Friday, September 20th, 2013 12:38:27 by


The Federal Cabinet on Friday approved establishment of special courts for speedy trial of terror suspects and to give more powers to the security forces to keep suspects for three months for interrogation, officials said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif presided over the Federal Cabinet meeting in Islamabad and approved certain counter terrorism measures as part of its new national security policy.

The current anti-terrorism act will be amended to curb the menace of terrorism and give more powers to the paramilitary forces particularly investigation powers to them.

The amendments also floated suggestion to ensure protection of witnesses in terrorism cases, officials said.  The proposed amendments will be presented in the parliament for a final approval.

Legal experts say that terrorism accused are usually acquitted by courts due to lack of witnesses as people are reluctant to become witness in view of threats.

The amendment also proposed a three month period for detention of the suspects instead of the current one month to give more time to the interrogators before they are produced in courts.

Electronic evidences will also now be accepted in cases of terrorism and more powers will be delegated to the security forces in restoration of peace in the troubled areas.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had hinted earlier this month that the anti-terrorism laws will be amended to effectively deal with the scourge of terrorism when he had visited the violence-hit port city of Karachi to approve a targeted operation against the terrorists, target killers, kidnappers and extortionists.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that nearly 1800 people were killed in targeted attacks in Karachi in the first six months of this year.

In his remarks in the cabinet meeting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed satisfaction over the ongoing targeted operation in Karachi to bring peace there. He hoped that positive outcome will be produced from this operation. He said the common has also expressed satisfaction over the targeted operation.

Officials say that the government will also reactivate the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) that would serve as a focal point for internal security policy.

A joint intelligence secretariat would be set up to work round the clock to analyse intelligence reports and action would be taken within hours on the actionable intelligence.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan says a Counter Terrorism Rapid Deployment Force initially with 500 serving or retired personnel of armed forces and its strength would be increased to 2,000.


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