Is Punjab government going to abolish anti-terrorism courts?

The provincial authorities are considering to transfer the powers of the anti-terrorism courts at the district level. According to the provincial home department, the issue to abolish anti-terrorism courts would be discussed in the provincial cabinet meeting on August 12 [today].

anti-terrorism courts

Punjab government has decided to abolish anti-terrorism courts in the province. Informed sources told GVS that the government is apparently planning to roll back the terrorism courts while keeping in to view the current law and order situation.

It was reportedly suggested by the provincial authorities to transfer the powers of the anti-terrorism courts at the district level. According to the provincial home department, the issue to abolish anti-terrorism courts would be discussed in the provincial cabinet meeting on August 12.

According to sources, earlier, the cabinet meeting was scheduled for August 11, however, it was postponed after Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar was summoned in a case pertaining to awarding license of liquor after receiving bribe.

It is pertinent to mention here that the anti-terrorism courts were established in the country to expedite cases against heinous criminal activities.

Apart from the abolishment of anti-terrorism courts, in another progress towards tackling terrorism in the country, the National Assembly yesterday passed FATF-related bills aimed at checking money laundering and terror financing after the government and the opposition evolved consensus paving the way for their smooth passage from the house.

The house approved the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2020, the Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill 2020, the Companies (Amendment) Bill 2020, the Control of Narcotic Substances (Amendment) Bill 2020, and the Islamabad Capital Territory Trust Bill 2020.

Read More: Pakistan’s Senate passes bills to amend Anti-Terrorism Act

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said terror financing and money laundering are the menaces that Pakistan has to confront and weed out. He said the government held a lengthy discussion with opposition parties to develop a consensus on FATF-related legislation.

LHC wants to increase the retirement age of lower judicial judges

The Lahore High Court (LHC) registrar has written a letter to the Punjab chief secretary asking him to enhance the retirement age of the members of the district judiciary from 60 years to 62 years to meet the “acute shortage” of judicial officers in the province.

This office is facing acute shortage of judicial officers due to their less induction in the service, the letter dated July 9 said. At present, it said, the retiring age of the judicial officers of the district judiciary is 60 years and after attaining this age the judicial officers are rapidly superannuating.

LHC Registrar Bahadar Ali Khan, who is also senior district and sessions judge, wrote in the letter that he has been directed [obviously by LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan] to ask the chief secretary to enhance the age of the officers of the district judiciary from 60 years to 62 years in order to overcome the shortage of the judicial officers.

Read More: Senate passed National Counter Terrorism Authority (Amendment) Bill 2019

Of the total 142 district and sessions judges, thirty-six are heading the subordinate judiciary in as many districts of Punjab. The remaining judicial officers are working in different positions in the LHC or presiding over a large number of accountability courts, consumer courts, anti-narcotics courts, anti-terrorism courts, banking courts, etc., which have been established by the federal government.

It is likely to be finalized today whether the Punjab government is going to abolish anti-terrorism courts across the province or not.

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