ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Thursday observed that though tall claims of efforts against terrorism are being made, the complete list of banned outfits in the country is not available on the official websites.

The court was surprised when it was told that the lists of banned organisations were not available even on the websites of National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) and the interior ministry. The court directed the authorities to upload complete list of banned organisations on official websites and advertise it in the entire country.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja was hearing a suo motu regarding errors in legal books and journals etc. The errors are found in different books on Contract Act 1872, Manual of Intellectual Property Laws, Printing Ordinance 2000, Punjab Consumer Protection Laws, etc.

Justice Jawwad, on the issue of banned outfits, remarked that the government should show seriousness, at least in the war against terrorism. He said if people would not be aware of the terrorist organisations then how the battle against terrorists could be fought effectively.

He said the people did not know if an organisation collecting money for the Thar victims was banned terrorist outfit. He said the government should stop joking with the nation because if a man is arrested for giving money to an organisation about which he had no knowledge that if it was banned, he would usually be told that no knowledge about the law is not a good excuse.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa remarked that presently the top most important issue before the government is terrorism. The court said the government should take terrorism issue seriously and advertise about anti-terrorism laws and the banned organisations. Justice Jawwad said a journalist could be imprisoned for 3 years for writing about a banned organisation as per law, though even many journalists do not know for sure if the organisation they are writing about was banned or not. “At least the journalists should be apprised about the banned outfits,” he added.

Justice Qazi observed that the world accuses Pakistan of supporting terrorists. He said after advertising the list of banned organisations, the same should also be shared with the countries with which Pakistan has good relations, adding this sharing of information may help other countries check activities of proscribed outfits on their own land.

The bench questioned the federal law secretary how many publishers have been punished for publishing law books containing errors. The secretary failed to answer. The judge said the issue came to the court’s knowledge during hearing of a case when a lawyer read from a law book which contained errors. He said thanks to the judge who was hearing that case pointed out the error, adding if the judge had not pointed out the error the government might had suffered Rs70 to 80 billion.

The court directed the federal and provincial governments that after combining all the federal and provincial laws it should be given the shape of a Code. Justice Faez said they wanted that all the laws of the country should easily be accessible.

The court noted that the Punjab government has made substantial progress, adding the KP government also seemed to be making efforts in the right directions, but the Sindh government has no clue of the requirement of the Rules of Business, while the same is the case with Balochistan. The case was adjourned till 28th January.