Terrorism-related cases: KP wants laws amended to protect judges, witnesses
PESHAWAR, Jan 18: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has proposed amendments to the relevant laws to protect the identity of judges, prosecutors and witnesses in terrorism related cases.
The proposal has been sent to the federal government in writing, according to provincial home secretary Azam Khan.
Mr Azam, who was present at a news conference along with information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain and prisons minister Mian Nisar Gul here on Friday, told Dawn that amendments to Anti-Terrorism Act and the Action (In Aid Of Civil Power) Regulation 2011 had been proposed so that the identity of the judges and prosecutors of anti-terrorism courts and prosecution witnesses could be kept secret.
He said in absence of advanced investigation tools, those looking into acts of terrorism mostly relied on witnesses, who faced threats from terrorists.
“Under such circumstances, it is almost impossible for investigators to prove terrorism charges against suspects,” he said.
The information minister voiced concern over low rate of conviction of the terror suspects and said almost 90 per cent of the accused in cases of terrorism were acquitted due to threats to witnesses and judges.
The home secretary told reporters that the provincial government had requested the federal government to make the amendments in question without delay for better conviction rate in the cases of terrorism.
He also said an amendment to the Explosive Act was also being proposed to learn about the users, use and quantity of explosive devices.
Mr Azam said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had been the worst hit by terrorism between 2006 and 2012 as 186 suicide attacks occurred there during the said period followed by 57 in Federally Administered Tribal Areas and 81 in the country’s other three provinces.
“It shows that militants have mostly focused on KP,” he said.
The home secretary said of 186 suicide attacks, 87 targeted police, 46 army, 10 different religious sects, 16 politicians, two foreigners and nine others.
He said the province had reported 2,219 terrorist attacks since 2008 and they included 254 in 2008, 727 in 2009, 262 in 2010, 370 in 2011 and 336 in 2012.
Mr Azam said to counter terrorism since its formation in 2008, the provincial government had increased police strength 163 per cent from 51,823 to 84,311 and their pay and allowances tangibly.
He said the police budget valued Rs6.269 billion in 2008 and the government increased it over 300 per cent to Rs19.226 billion by 2012.
The secretary said the provincial police had arrested 1,764 militants in 2008, 904 in 2009, 5,566 in 2010, 6,236 in 2011 and 4,448 in 2012, while 26 suicide jackets, 49,691 rifles, 2,384 grenades, 103 rockets and 269 bombs were also seized during the said period.
He said the Taliban outfit had different wings, including propaganda wing for reaching out the public, religious wing for leading the discourse for their interpretation of Islam with their own logic, training wing for providing training to militants, and financial wing for generating funds through goods smuggling, kidnapping and extortion.
Mr Azam said of 530 Frontier Constabulary platoons, 179 had been deployed in primary area of the responsibility, while the rest were deployed in Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and other areas of the country.
He said the movement of the terrorists from Fata to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and subsequently to other parts of the country could be tangibly reduced if all FC platoons were deployed on the border between settled and tribal areas.
The prisons minister told reporters that the government had allocated Rs35 million in the 2012-13 budget for the purchase of jammers, closed-circuit television cameras and computers. He said computerisation of the data about prisoners and jail staff was underway and its completion would help accommodate prisoners according to the capacity of the jail.
Mr Mian Nisar said vocational training centres had also been established in four jails of the province, while the prison strength had increased from 1,874 to 2,512 over the last five years, he said.