ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Wednesday passed the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill 2015 aimed at protecting court officials, witnesses and indemnity against prosecution in any other court of law. Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Chaudhary Jaffar Iqbal piloted the bill to further amend the Pakistan Army Act 1952 in the House. New section 2C is inserted after section 2B in the bill which says protection to witnesses, President, Members of the Court, Defending Officers, Prosecutors and persons concerned with Court Proceedings. Members from the Opposition, Naveed Qamar, Dr Shireen Mazari, Dr Arif Alvi, Sahibzada Tariq-ullah, Dr Nafeesa Shah questioned the new amendment to the bill and its need. Responding to the various questions by the opposition members, Jaffar Iqbal said that it was a part of 21st amendment which was made to ensure peace and stability in the country. He said it was need of hour and the amendment has helped curtail terrorism and terrorist activities in the country. Jaffar Iqbal said the bill was passed by the Senate and was thoroughly debated in standing committees of both houses. The statement of objects and reasons of the bill says that an extraordinary situation and circumstances exist which demand special measures for speedy trail of certain offences relating to terrorism, waging war or insurrection against Pakistan and prevention of acts threatening security of Pakistan by any terrorist group using name of religion or sect and members of such armed groups’ wings and militia.
There exists a grave threat to the integrity of Pakistan owing to raising of arms and insurrection by terrorist groups. These groups are funded by foreign and local elements using name of religion or sect.They have to be severely dealt with under the law. In order to ensure proper conduct of trails special measures for protection and indemnity against legal proceedings as well as arrest or detention of the accused persons it is desirable that during the conduct of said trials security and safety of court officials must never get compromised. Therefore, special measures for protection of such officials and indemnity against arrest, detention of terrorists are required.