Punjab to amend laws through ordinances to curb terrorism

The Punjab governmentLAHORE: The Punjab government is amending a set of laws through ordinances to tie up loose ends that are allowing or can facilitate terrorist activities in the province.

According to reliable sources, the government had earlier decided to introduce bills in the Punjab Assembly to amend the laws. But it dropped the idea and was now going to amend these laws through ordinances in the next few days because of the prorogation of the assembly session, the sources said.

The first law to be amended through an ordinance is the Punjab Arms Ordinance 1965. The government is going to enhance punishments for possessing, using, storing or displaying unlicensed or prohibited weapons and ammunition.

The sources said at present the idea was to enhance imprisonment from two to seven years for possessing non-prohibited weapon, from four to seven years for prohibited weapon and from five to 14 years for any weapon of any kind recovered in bulk.

The second law was about tenants in which the government was going to make it mandatory for the owners of rented houses, hotels, guest houses and hostels to share every detail of their tenants and guests with the law enforcement agencies.

At present there was no such provision in the law under which non-provision of this kind of information was an offence.

Through amending the third law, the government was going to make it mandatory for educational and other institutions to ensure the security of their premises in conformity with the suggestions given by tehsil level committees. These institutions will have to adopt the specific security protocols.

The committees will also have powers to check whether the security measures had been adopted or not and take legal action if deemed necessary.Presently, the law provides for adoption of security arrangements but there was no monitoring system and or guidance.

The fourth law was about registration of places of worship of all religions and sects. At present there was no such provision in law.

The fifth law was about regulating seminaries (madressahs). The amendment in the law would help regulate all aspects of seminaries like their curriculum, their faculty and students.

“All this is related to the overall war against terrorism,” a senior official said.

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