Pak assembly clears anti-terror bill

Pakistan’s National Assembly on Thursday passed a bill that will give intelligence and security agencies sweeping powers to conduct surveillance and collect data from SMSs and emails, with the premier saying the law was aimed at “enemies of humanity and terrorists” and not against ordinary citizens.

The National Assembly or lower house of parliament approved the Fair Trial Bill 2012 after incorporating amendments proposed by the main opposition PML-N and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which is part of the ruling coalition led by the Pakistan People’s Party.

“This bill will prove helpful in sending a message to terrorists that the whole country is united against them and accepts their challenge,” Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said after the bill was passed. The main purpose of the bill is to eliminate terrorism, he said.
Ashraf said the bill was aimed against “enemies of humanity and terrorists, and not against ordinary citizens”.

“It will protect the lives of ordinary citizens and save them from terrorists,” he said.
“We have given a message to the whole world by passing this bill that we want to strengthen our law enforcement agencies and security agencies in every way so that they are successful in the war against terrorism”.

He criticised terrorists and questioned why they were targeting people like vaccinators involved in a nationwide anti-polio drive.

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