ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights was irritated by the Islamabad police chief’s refusal to divulge details about the arrest of PTI workers because the case was still under investigation.
The conference on Monday was informed by Islamabad police officials on the use of excessive force against former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his companions when he was scheduled to appear before a court of law at the Federal Judicial Complex in Islamabad on March 18.
Senator Walid Iqbal, chairman of the committee, voiced worry over the ICT administration’s disproportionate use of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 (ATA) against the throng gathering to support their leader.
Senator Iqbal requested that data relating to individuals against whom FIRs had been launched under ATA be provided to the Committee, particularly if minors were involved.
Says he is unable to disclose information because the case is pending.
However, IG Islamabad Police Akbar Nasir refused to release such information, claiming that the matter is still under investigation and that a JIT has already been created to probe cases.
The committee members were irritated by the response of the Islamabad police commander, arguing that public material cannot be withheld from the country’s highest legal forum – the Parliament and legislative bodies.
As the IGP Islamabad remained unmoved, Senator Walid Iqbal stated that from February 28 to the present, more than 600 people had been charged under ATA, with more than 50 of them possibly being under the age of 18.
Senator Iqbal urged the committee to consider the fact that only six people were charged under the ATA, accounting for less than one percent of all cases registered under the act, while 99 percent of cases registered under the act were either discharged or granted post and before arrest bail between February 28 and now.
While the committee believes that the overbroad application of the ATA burdens the courts and inhibits them from focusing on genuine instances for which the ATA was designed.
The Committee agreed to enlist the National Commission on the Rights of the Child to investigate how the ATA has been applied to children under the age of 18 and to produce a report on the human rights implications.
The Committee was also briefed on behalf of the Inspector General of Police Punjab on the undertaking given by Punjab Police in Lahore High Court regarding the March 18 house search of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The committee strongly condemned the cruel and sadistic treatment of Senator Walid Iqbal and 23 other political detainees by Punjab authorities while moving them from Kot Lakhpat jail to Layyah jail on February 23.
The Committee described the treatment as inhumane and in violation of all civilized norms.
The Senate Committee took note of an alleged attack on Mehek Shah, a transgender person in Mianwali, by a local SHO.
Senators Prof Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani, Dr. Mohammad Humayun Mohmand, Seemee Ezdi, Quratul Ain Marri, Abida Mohammad Azeem, Irfanul Haq Siddiqui, Falak Naz, Syed Waqar Mehdi, and Kamran Michael attended the meeting.