Lawmakers concerned over ‘illegal’, unethical activities of Afghan refugees camped outside press club

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Zubair Qureshi

A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior on Friday expressed concerns over what they said were “unethical and illegal” activities of the Afghan refugees camped outside the National Press Club.

Deliberating over “illegal and unethical” activities of the Afghan refugees camped in front of National Press Club the committee took strong notice of the issue and directed Islamabad Police to take stringent measures against those who were violating law.

The committee gave these directions while discussing public petitions related to the Afghan refugees and also raised serious questions over the performance of Aabpara Police Station Islamabad in this regard.

The meeting was chaired by Senator Mohsin Aziz and attended by Senator Fawzia Arshad, Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed, Senator Moula Bux Chandio, Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman, Senator Saifullah Abro, Senator Shahdat Awan, Senator Dilawar Khan, Senator Walid Iqbal and senior officers from the Ministries of Interior and Law and Justice.

It was asserted that there would be zero tolerance against those who violated law and order or dishonoured the flag of Pakistan. The committee was informed that calculated measures needed to be taken against Afghan Refugees at this time since there is a possibility of international backlash.

The committee was also informed that these refugees would be relocated to another area in Islamabad. The Interior Ministry is in constant touch with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) regarding this matter.

The committee directed the Islamabad police and the administration to take action against the official(s) responsible for not taking action in this matter. A compliance report will be submitted within 15 days.

Earlier the committee passed Islamabad Capital Territory Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill, 2022 giving a go-ahead to legislation on this crucial issue. The other criminal bill passed by the lawmakers included the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2022 while they discussed in details Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment) Bill, 2022.

While discussing the Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment) Bill, 2022 the Ministry said that even though it supported the Bill in principal it was not possible to take this further at this point due to certain incomplete clauses that merited clarification. Instances of overlaps were to be rectified as well.

The committee directed that all work must be completed on the Bill by 30th September, 2022. Members stressed the need to ensure that it was an all-inclusive Bill that would protect the rights of all women, children, men and transgenders.

 

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