Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf believes that terrorism demands that there should be adequate legislation to arrest, try, convict and punish the terrorists but at the same time it should not be a draconian law which makes life miserable for innocent civilians which is always the danger in Pakistan. Therefore such a law must find a delicate balance. With this spirit in mind I studied the law very closely and suggested 42 amendments to improve the law, actually making it stronger and safer.
The government bulldozed the law in the NA and adopted only 8 of my 42 amendments. However they had a setback when the Senate rejected it. The matter came back to the NA. The government then adopted more than 80% of my proposals including my description of the right to shoot... to use only necessary force but after 'Reasonable Apprehension'. The Treasury was refusing to describe Reasonable Apprehension and wanted to leave it vague. I made an attempt to describe the same and my argument was that those who will choose to fire must know under what circumstances they should do so. This was only one of my 42 amendments. For the details you can see my full document at Scribd
Mr Zahid Hamid argued that the term Reasonable Apprehension has been used for 200 years and does not require a description but Mr Aitzaz Ahsan and Mr Raza Rabbani wanted my description to be included in 'toto' and I am thankful to them as the law became effective as well as safer.
At the final stage after adopting about 80% of my amendments the government made a very subtle change which eroded the sovereignty of the Parliament by adding a clause, the dangers of which should be known. I must give an example first. If a law is made... that for a certain crime (eg killing), the punishment is death and the parliament passes such a law it should not be amendable, unless by the parliament itself. If the Govt of Pakistan executive or bureaucracy can amend the crime, at will, eg adding pick-pockteing to the list of crimes, and keep the same punishment for this small crime also i.e. death it would then be a serious miscarriage of justice and of the Parliaments right to legislate.
This is what they did in PPB - The parliament would pass the schedule of offences, describing them as those which would come under the harsh law of PPB ... but the PMLN added a clause that the GoP with a simple notification can change the schedule and can add other crimes (even minor) to this list.
This we felt was unacceptable, along with some other issues. PTI MNAs debated the issue, voted on it within our parliamentary group and decided not to oppose the bill, nor support it but to abstain. We believe that terrorism needs strong laws and PTI improved the strength of the bill giving powers to the LEAs, police and Armed Forces, but to allow the GoP to misuse/modify a law in this manner is a process which is abhorrent to the democratic process and has the potential of making a law already feared into a more draconian law.
Dr Arif Alvi MNA-250