Govt to set up 'Islamabad Food Authority'.
Byline: Hasnaat Malik
ISLAMABAD -- In order to improve the standard of food being sold in the capital, the federal government has decided to set up the 'Islamabad Food Authority'.
The law ministry has already prepared a bill which provides the legal basis for the establishment of the authority. This was disclosed by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Law Zafarullah Khan as he spoke to newsmen at the Law Ministry on Thursday.
Zafarullah also shared a draft of the proposed bill.
The draft bill states that the authority will comprise of nine members. The mayor of the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation will be the chairperson of the authority.
Other members of the authority include representatives of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration, administrators of the health division, representatives from the Islamabad Chambers of Commerce and Industry, two food technologists and two representatives of citizens and consumers.
The authority, the bill states, will have the power to formulate standards, procedures, processes and guidelines on any aspect of food production or sale including businesses, labelling, and additives apart from specifying appropriate enforcement systems.
Moreover, the authority will set up a system where a network of food operators and consumers will facilitate food safety and quality control.
Similarly, it will also organise training programmes in food safety and standards.
The authority will also issue licenses to food operators.
The authority will also notify Food Safety Officers, who will be authorised to draw samples of any food or any consumable substance, which appears to be intended for sale. These officers will be empowered to seize any food which appears to be in contravention of the law.
Zafarullah revealed that the federal government has prepared a draft on Islamabad Criminal Prosecution bill, wherein prosecution officers would be appointed to assist the police during the prosecution.
He added that the prosecution wing would be empowered to offer their legal opinion to the capital's police during investigations.
Zafarullah stated that the government is also planning to increase the numbers of magistrates in the federal capital. 'Our desire is that Islamabad should act as a province,' he added.
He also revealed that the government has also decided to amend the Criminal Procedure Code whereby the police would be bound to provide reasons for arresting anyone. Likewise, the police will also be bound to inform the family of a suspect after they have been arrested.
The accused will be allowed to seek legal assistance from their lawyer during the investigation. The law advisor lamented that there is no specific procedure for the arrest of a suspect.
In this regard, he revealed that the government plans to introduce new legislation wherein a magistrate would have the authority to order for an FIR to be registered. However, without collecting evidence, no one would be arrested.
He also informed that the government is also bringing new amendment wherein the court would award heavy punishment for filing a malicious case against anyone.