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Pak Govt moves to grant PM authority to order preventive detention

12 September 2017 No Comment

ISLAMABAD – The government has moved to amend “The Security of Pakistan Act, 1952” and replace the words “federal government” with “prime minister” so as to authorise the latter to make an order with respect to any particular person, that he be detained, to prevent him from acting prejudicial to the defence of the country, it has been learnt.

At present, the “federal government” is competent to exercise such powers under the Security of Pakistan Act, 1952 and take decisions in respect of restrictions on the movements of suspected persons and their detention.

Section 3(1) of the act “Restrictions on the movements of suspected persons and their detention” reads as “The federal government, if satisfied with respect to any particular person, that, with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the defence or the external affairs or the security of Pakistan, or any part thereof, it is necessary so to do, may make an order (a) directing such person to remove himself from Pakistan in such manner, before such time, and by such route, as may be specified in the order; (b) directing that he be detained.”

According to the documents exclusively available with The Nation, Fawad Hassan Fawad, secretary to the then prime minister in June 2017, wrote to secretary interior, stating that in view of the importance of the detention of the suspects and potential of their involvement in activities prejudicial to the interest of the state of Pakistan, the premier has desired that in view of the nature of such cases, the interior ministry shall separately look into amending the present legal dispensation and replace the words “federal government” with “prime minister”.

The government move followed the prime minister’s recent approval for preventive detention of a suspect due to potential of his involvement in activities prejudicial to interests of the state of Pakistan, with the direction that the matter shall be placed for ratification of the cabinet.

“The prime minister has further desired that in view of the nature of such cases, [the] Interior Division shall separately look into amending the present legal dispensation and replace the words “federal government” with the “prime minister,” said the letter.

It is to mention here that the Supreme Court in August 2016, on the appeals filed by the importers of cellular phones and textile goods, had ruled that “The prime minister cannot take decisions by himself or by supplanting or ignoring the cabinet because the power to take decisions is vested with the federal government i.e. the cabinet and unilateral decisions taken by the prime minister would be a usurpation of power.”

The judgment was authored by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, which was announced by a three-judge bench.

Through constitutional petitions, the appellants had challenged certain government decisions on sales tax. The petitioners had pleaded that the notifications were not issued by the federal government but by an additional secretary who was not competent to do so.

The judgment further read: “The function of the chief executive is to execute and implement the policy decisions taken by the cabinet i.e. the federal government. The prime minister executes policy decisions, he does not take them by himself.”

The judgment further explained that the decisions of the federal government are the decisions of the cabinet and not of the PM, and any decision taken by the prime minister on his own initiative lacks the authority of the law or the constitution.

According to the sources, Ministry of Interior has sought advice from Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights on proposed amendment in the present legal dispensation and replacement of the words “federal government” with the “prime minister” in the Security of Pakistan Act, 1952.
http://nation.com.pk/national/12-Sep-2017/govt-moves-to-grant-pm-authority-to-order-preventive-detention

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