Pak intelligence, security agencies get sanction for unhindered phone-tapping access
The National Assembly of Pakistan has unanimously passed a bill that will give intelligence and security agencies sweeping powers to conduct surveillance, tap phones and collect data from SMSs and emails.
The Nation quoted Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, as saying that the law is aimed at the 'enemies of humanity and terrorists' and not at ordinary citizens. The bill, he added, will send a "message to terrorists that the whole country is united against them and accepts their challenge".
The Fair Trial Bill 2012 provides for investigation and collection of evidence by means of modern techniques and devices to prevent and effectively deal with scheduled offences.
The evidence can be collected by the intelligence and law enforcing agencies even before registration of FIR through intercepting emails, SMS, IDPR (internet protocol detail record), CDR (Call detail record) and any form of computer based or cell based communication, the paper said.
The treasury benches recommended withdrawing FIA from the list of empowered agencies, however, names of three armed services Intelligence agencies along with ISI, IB and Police were included.
"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. It will protect the lives of ordinary citizens," Ashraf said.
The bill, which will have to be passed by the Senate and approved by the President before it can become law, will also regulate the powers of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
The bill, when passed into law, will prevent the arbitrary use and abuse of interception powers particularly by the intelligence agencies and force them to abide by the law. It will encourage investigation to only collect genuine evidence in accordance with law and curb the temptation of planting false and fabricated evidence against individuals in violation of their human rights and civil liberties.