NA Body Unanimously Approves Amendments In Human Organ Transplant

NA body unanimously approves amendments in Human Organ Transplant

ISLAMABAD, Nov 8 (Pakistan Point News - APP - 08th Nov, 2016 ) : National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights on Tuesday unanimously approved amendments in the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissue Act 2010 allowing life imprisonment, permanent cancellation of practice license and a fine of Rs 50 million for doctors and para medics involved in the illegal activity. "The amended legislation will be presented as government bill in the next National Assembly session starting from November 14," said Chairperson of the Committee Babar Nawaz Khan while congratulating the Committee members and relevant ministries on their concerted efforts.

The bill, which will be applicable on Islamabad Capital Territory, also proposes that any premises used for such illegal activity will be forfeited by the government and the accomplice will face 10 years imprisonment in addition to a fine of Rs 50. The legislation also include strict ban on the foreigners to visit Pakistan for transplantation purposes and Pakistani citizens carrying out any transplant procedure outside Pakistan except those procedures which are not available in Pakistan.

For donation of human organs or tissues after accidental or brain death, a column will be introduced in the front page of the CNIC application form to take consent of the donor. The column will also provide provision to select any single or a combination of more than one organ or all organs individual consents to donate. The CNIC will then have a code displaying the word `Organ Donor' in red. Under this law, Human Organ Transplant Authority (HOTA) will be empowered to raid any premises on the basis of reports received by the authority regarding illegal human organ transplant activity.

The committee also approved amendments in Women Distress and Detention Fund 1996 proposed by the government. The fund was established in 1996 but no disbursement has been made under this initiative since its establishment. The amendment bill reduces the number of the members of board of Governors (BoG) from 19 to 9 besides changing the titles of relevant officials so that the fund remains functional even after any change in the status of the ministry.

Director General Ministry of Human Rights Muhammad Arshad briefed the committee that the fund provides financial help to women in detention and those who are in distress and need aid. Women seriously maltreated by their husbands, distressed women and their minor children in need of shelter and similar cases of grave distress and legal help to women in detention or distress could also benefit from this fund. Currently the fund contains an amount of Rs40 million.

According to ministry officials, the fund remained inactive for this long because of the changing status of the Ministry of Human Rights. The ministry was first a Human Rights Wing which was given the status of a Federal ministry and then converted into a wing of the Ministry of Law Justice and Human Rights by the present government. Considering its importance, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif again converted the wing into a ministry on December 2, 2015.

"Each time, an amendment was required to change titles of the relevant officials responsible to operate the fund. "To solve this issue, the amendments propose change in the titles of relevant officials making it minister or secretary in charge of the administration," said Director General Ministry of Human Rights Muhammad Arshad. Besides that, the amendment will reduce the number of the members of BoG from 19 to 9. "The BoG was extensive to an extent that not even a single meeting was organized in past so many years," he added.

The BoG, responsible for fund disbursement, will now include Minister in Charge, Secretary in charge, prominent women social worker from each province nominated by the provincial government and one women member each from National Assembly and Senate nominated by the speaker. The committee also discussed "The Protection of Minorities Bill, 2016" moved by MNA Sanjay Pervani. The committee members were of the opinion that the Constitution protects citizens from forced marriages and forced conversions and instead of introducing special law, stringent punishment and strict implementation be introduced and ensured for Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).