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Proposed ATA Amendment To Allow Prolonged Detention, Senator Terms It ‘Draconian’

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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq has criticised the proposed amendment in the Anti Terrorism Act (ATA) that allows detention of three-months, terming it draconian.

According to Farooq, the proposed change is bound to be used to further suppress dissent and victimise members of the rival political parties.

“Draconian amendments in ATA being proposed for oppression of political dissent and victimisation,” the senator said in a Twitter post on Thursday. She feared that the law will be used for misuse and exploitation.

She also objected on the term ‘economic terrorism’ regarding the hawala/hundi, raising questions on the credibility of the move.

How can economic terrorism be money worth 50 million transferred abroad through hawala/hundi? And preventive detention for inquiry?”

In the section titled ‘protective detention for inquiry’, the proposed amendment states, “any person against whom there are reasonable grounds of believing that he is connected with an offence under this act may be detained for inquiry for a period not exceeding three months.”

It also referred to ‘economic terrorism’ as “the transfer of money or funds from Pakistan to destinations abroad through any informal channel including hundi or hawala, where the total amount transferred by any one agent, through a single or multiple transactions over the period of one month, is equal to or exceeds Rs 50 million.”

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