Protection of Pakistan ordinance gives draconian powers to Army; may impact ties with India

India, Pakistan on 23 April 2014
Location : New Delhi, India | Source : The Economic Times; image source: The Economic Times

Indian foreign policy establishment is wary that Pakistan's new 'Protection of Pakistan Ordinance' that gives draconian powers to the country's security forces could further strengthen the neighbour country's all-powerful defence establishment which may adversely impact bilateral ties in the coming months.

The Protection of Pakistan Ordinance was presented in the country's Senate last week amid strong protests from opposition parties. And on Monday European Parliament lambasted the ordinance saying that the Ordinance could impact minorities of Pakistan.

The ordinance recently passed by Pakistan's National Assembly, grants sweeping powers of arrest and detention to security forces. South Block officials told ET that this Ordinance could make the Pakistan Army more powerful and may not contribute in improving ties when a new government is voted in power in Delhi. This ordinance could weaken Pakistan's democracy and its democratic government led by Nawaz Sharif, which is not in India's interest, an official pointed out speaking strictly on the condition of anonymity.

"This is not right signal for Delhi coming in the backdrop of sudden resurgence of Maulana Masood Azhar founder of banned Jaish-e-Mohammad and a wanted in India. Besides a powerful Pakistan Army amid draw down of US troops from Afghanistan this year is also not in regional interests," the official quipped.

Pakistan's principal opposition parties -- Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Awami National Party, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid have lodged strong protest against the ordinance PPP Senator Raza Rabbani labelled it as a "black law."

There are fears that the Ordinance could be misused by the Pakistani military, security and intelligence apparatus to arbitrarily persecute ethnic as well as religious minorities, vulnerable sections of society, indulge in extra-judicial killings, violations of human rights and dignity and circumvent the rule of law, alleged Pakistan's Opposition parties.The Ordinance removes basic constitutional rights from citizens of Pakistan such as the right to legal council and fair trial and also establishes special courts to deal with people convicted under the new law. The government is under pressure after noted journalist Hamid Mir blamed ISI for a lethal attack on him last Saturday.

The European Parliament yesterday cautioned the Pakistani government for its lack of respect for human rights and debated on the impact on minorities of the recently passed Pakistan Protection Ordinance 2014.The members deliberated about how the European Parliament expresses strong reservations and condemns the draconian and controversial Pakistan Protection Ordinance 2014 passed recently by the Pakistani government, notwithstanding widespread domestic criticism.


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