Fighting for rights : ‘Pakistan Protection Act is violating basic human rights’
KARACHI: The right to free and fair trial needs to be treated as a fundament right in Pakistan. It can be made possible through effective, transparent and evidence-based investigations.
These views were expressed by speakers during a workshop, titled ‘Policy Recommendation to Strengthen Access to Justice through Fair Trial, Legal Aid and Community Paralegal in Pakistan- A Rights Based Approach’, on Saturday. The event was organised by Insaf Network Pakistan.
A number of lawyers, social activists and retired judges and civil servants attended and spoke at the event.
Pakistan Protection Act
The repercussions of Pakistan Protection Act (PPA), a recently promulgated law that allows armed forces of the country detain any person suspected of being involved in terrorist activities for three months, were discussed thoroughly at the session.
Fundamental rights of citizens to free and fair trial are being violated through PPA, said former attorney general Anwar Mansoor Khan.
The first draft of the act proposed the detention period of 15 days only, he claimed. However, it was later increased up to 90 days, he added.
Reiterating Khan’s point of view, Barrister Zamir Ghumro said the 90-day detention period is itself a violation of fundamental rights.
Fair trial has become more crucial after the special laws such as PPA and establishment of military courts, he added.
Speaking about the role of media, Khan said unfortunately the electronic media was creating a negative hype about suspects being held by law enforcement agencies on different charges of corruption and terrorism.
A section of the media is portraying these suspects as criminals, which is against its code of conduct and unethical, he added.
Speaking about statements made reportedly on confessions, former IGP Niaz Siddiqui asserted that these confessions should not form the basis of investigations. A confession should be made in the absence of any pressure, torture and threats, he added.
The workshop concluded with a demand that to ensure justice to each and every person in the country, investigations of suspects should be made transparent.