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Cabinet okays bill to track repeat offenders using GPS devices

Some members say bill violates human rights, others opine it will check street crimes

The Sindh cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft Sindh Habitual Offenders’ Monitoring Bill, 2022 with the objective to ensure effective monitoring of re-offenders using modern technology.

The cabinet meeting was held under the chairmanship of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah at the Chief Minister’s House.

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The draft bill was presented by the Home Department.

The meeting was told that habitual offenders would be told to wear electronic monitoring devices in the form of an anklet or a bracelet.

“A tracking device for each habitual offender that contains a central processing unit with a global positioning system (GPS) and cellular technology will allow authorities to track them 24 hours a day,” the draft bill says.

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The bill also spells out the procedure for the attachment of electronic monitoring devices. It says that habitual offenders would be told to wear devices on court’s orders for the period they would remain on bail. “The court of law would explain the operation of the device and its terms and conditions to habitual offenders.”

It recommends three-year imprisonment over the failure of habitual offenders to comply with terms and conditions and the imposition of Rs1 million fine/three-years imprisonment in case of tampering with the device.

According to the bill, habitual offenders would have to seek prior permission from police before changing their permanent place of residence.

When the chief minister opened discussion on the draft bill, some of the cabinet members termed it a violation of human rights. Others opined that harsh clauses would discourage street crimes.

After an over 40-minute debate, the draft law was approved with a majority and was subsequently referred to the assembly where it would be debated again.

Meanwhile, the meeting was told that illegal fishing along coastal areas of Sindh was causing a loss of Rs4-5 billion annually to the exchequer.

Presenting the Sindh Registration and Regulation of Fishing Jetties Rules, 2022, the fisheries and livestock department said that different agencies have reported that a number of illegal jetties were being operated along coastal areas of Sindh.

The meeting was told that the jetties were feared to be used for smuggling of goods, fish, fuel and even drugs to and from Pakistan and could also be used by terrorists/ foreign elements to penetrate their agents into Pakistan.

Moreover, it was shared that there were 64 unregistered jetties, including five in Kiamari, 27 in Malir, 29 in Thatta, two in Sujawal and one in Badin.

The cabinet approved the rules and directed the fisheries department to register illegal jetties against a prescribed fee for a period of three years. According to the rules, the department would have the authority to conduct inspection of jetties prior to their registration and licensing.

The cabinet also approved a 15-member board of directors of the Karachi Fisheries Harbour Authority under the minister for fisheries and livestock.

The cabinet expressed serious reservations over the opening of CJ Link Canal at a time when Sindh was facing an acute shortage of drinking water. The cabinet urged the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) to take necessary measures in this respect.

Also, the cabinet approved allotment of 200 acres in Sukkur for displaced families, who were deprived of their homes in the wake of the anti-encroachment drive along banks of canals.

The cabinet decided that the land would be leased out for a period of 99 years and each displaced family would be allotted 80 square yards.

It also approved the establishment of a technology park at the NED University under the public-private partnership mode.

The NED University of Engineering & Technology was also allowed to initiate the process and seek the status of a special economic zone for eight years. The provincial government would also financially support the university’s IT Intervention Fund.

The meeting was attended by all provincial ministers, advisors, special assistants, Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput, P&D chairman, principal secretary to CM, finance secretary and other officers concerned.



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