ISLAMABAD, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani cabinet on Friday approved the establishment of special courts for speedy trial of terror suspects and to give more powers to the security forces to keep suspects for three months for interrogation, officials said.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif presided over the Federal Cabinet meeting in Islamabad and approved certain counter terrorism measures as part of his new national security policy.
The current anti-terrorism act will be amended to curb the menace of terrorism and give more powers, particularly investigation powers, to paramilitary forces.
The amendments also floated suggestion to ensure protection of witnesses in terrorism cases, officials said. The proposed amendments will be presented in the parliament for a final approval.
Legal experts said accused terrorists are usually acquitted by courts due to lack of witnesses as people are reluctant to become witness in view of threats.
The amendments also proposed a three-month period for detention of the suspects instead of the current one-month to give interrogators more time before they appear in courts.
Electronic evidences will also now be accepted in cases of terrorism and more powers will be delegated to security forces in restoration of peace in the troubled areas.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif hinted earlier this month that the anti-terrorism laws will be amended to effectively deal with the scourge of terrorism when he visited the violence-hit port city of Karachi to approve a targeted operation against the terrorists including killers, kidnappers and extortionists.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said nearly 1,800 people were killed in targeted attacks in Karachi in the first six months of this year.
In his remarks in the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed satisfaction over the ongoing targeted operation in Karachi in bringing peace there. He hoped that positive outcome will be produced from this operation. He said the public has also expressed satisfaction over the targeted operation.
Officials said the government will also reactivate the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) that would serve as a focal point for internal security policy.
A joint intelligence secretariat would be set up to work round the clock to analyze intelligence reports and action would be taken within hours on the actionable intelligence.