Jan 03, Colombo: The government has received the cabinet approval to withdraw the Counter Terrorism Bill, which was drafted by the previous government to replace the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).
Co-Cabinet Spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena speaking at the weekly media briefing said the Cabinet of Ministers who convened yesterday reached the decision to withdraw the bill.
The previous Cabinet of Ministers approved the repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act No. 48 of 1979 and the introduction of the draft Counter Terrorism Bill in Parliament with the intent of enacting new laws to combat terrorism.
The controversial Bill is being considered by the Sectoral Oversight Committee on International Relations in Parliament.
However, considering the views expressed by various parties regarding certain provisions contained in the Bill, Minister of Foreign Relations Dinesh Gunawardena has proposed the withdrawal of the Bill.
Co-Cabinet Spokesman expressing his views at the media briefing today said the Bill was not drafted based on local requirements but on the influence of foreign forces adding that the Minister of Justice at the time did not table the Draft Bill in the House.
He said the draft Bill which curtails the freedom of trade unions, the freedom of student unions and student movements and the political freedom, was criticized as an Act to pamper terrorism Instead of curbing.
Minister Gunawardena charged that the Foreign Minister at the time, Tilak Marapana, tabled the Draft Bill, which he claimed did not fall under his jurisdiction as the subject Minister.
"At least the then Minister of Justice of the good governance government was not prepared to introduce this bill. There were objections from the President. Thilak Marapana, Minister of Foreign Affairs, presented the Bill without regard to anything."
Co-cabinet spokesman said the government is also focusing on providing relief to state and semi government employees who have been subjected to political victimization.