ISLAMABAD - The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has urged Senate to reject Protection of Pakistan Bill 2014 that would grant military and law enforcement authorities sweeping powers to detain individuals, in contravention of international human rights standards.

In a press statement received here Wednesday, the ICJ expressed serious concern that the implementation of the Bill will facilitate numerous other human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial executions, and further entrench impunity for those responsible.

“The Bill should be more accurately called the ‘Protection of Impunity’ Bill, because it seeks to authorize widespread human rights violations by security forces, including violations they perpetrated in the past,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Asia Director.

“If passed, law enforcement and security agencies, on mere suspicion alone, will be authorized to detain individuals indefinitely, at undisclosed locations, without informing their families of their whereabouts or providing them access to lawyers.” In addition, the offences defined in the Bill are so vague and overly broad that it can easily be used to clamp down on peaceful protesters, government opponents and political activists,” Zarifi added.

The briefing paper says the Bill must be seen in the context of continuing enforced disappearances that remain unresolved and allegations of torture and extra-judicial executions that remain un-investigated.

“The Senate should reject this blatant attempt to undo strides made by civil society activists and the Supreme Court of Pakistan to highlight the practice of enforced disappearances and bring perpetrators to justice,” said Zarifi.