Amendments in the Anti-Terrorism Act are against human rights

The Institute for Social Justice (ISJ) is extremely displeased over the recent amendments in the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997, through an Ordinance in October 2013 promulgated by Mamnoon Hussain the President of Pakistan. Some of these amendments are serious blow on the human rights principles mainly the right to a fair trial and justice.

The ISJ feels that through amendment exceptional powers have been given to the law enforcement agencies (LEA) to detain accused children, women and adults up to 90 days.

The current government rather brining improvements in the current practices of LEA through rigorous monitoring, accountability and participation has toughen the Criminal Justice System of Pakistan which was already the main source of exploitation and abuse of poor and helpless class of Pakistan. Indefinite detention for 90 days means long term permission to the LEA for the unending exploitation, abuse and torture on accused.

Legal authority for the indefinite detention is against the due process and procedure of the trial and it is a human rights violation. The Supreme Court of Pakistan should take suo moto notice of the amendments in the ATA.