Pakistan Pushes Draconian New Terror Bill

Secret Trials, Unchallengeable Summary Detentions on the Table

Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik today proposed a massive expansion of government power with the “Anti-Terrorism Bill 2010,” a bill which is set to go through parliament in the near future.

The bill dramatically redefines the concept of “terrorism” to encompass such things as setting up unapproved radio stations, damaging public property and resisting police. It empowers the government on a number of further fronts, however.

The bill will also give the government the power to wiretap any and all communication in Pakistan, and seize control of any telecommunications systems in the nation. It would also allow the government to revoke passports of suspects, to summarily detain them without charges for 90 days, and to hold secret trials. Any assets of a detainee would be “assumed unless proven contrary” to be terrorism funds, and seized.

Violations of any of the new types of “terrorism,” even the radio station clause, could be punished with death.  The detention of a suspect could not be challenged in any court in Pakistan.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.