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‘Government has stopped the implementation of PECA Section 20’. The Express Tribune



Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan on Thursday revealed that the federal authorities had stalled the implementation of Section 20 of the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 (PECA) Ordinance and determined to seek the advice of all stakeholders.

On 18 February the federal government introduced ordinance Amending PECA to make on-line “defamation” of officers and public workplace holders a prison offense with harsher penalties.

Online public defamation was additionally made a cognizable and non-bailable offense beneath the (Amendment) Ordinance, 2022. It had additionally elevated the jail time for civil, navy establishments from three years to 5 years.

Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah right now heard petitions by media organizations together with Pakistan Bar Association (PBA) towards the modification ordinance.

Director Cyber ​​Crime Babar Bakht knowledgeable the court docket that round 244,000 complaints have been filed within the final three years, of which 94,000 have been beneath Section 20. However, he mentioned that no arrests have been made which was potential provided that sure clauses have been added. With that part.

Justice Minallah noticed that TV packages don’t fall beneath the mentioned part and the FIR of media character Mohsin Baig is an excellent case of abuse of energy.

Read extra: Govt urges repeal of ‘draconian’ PECA ordinance amendments

“Why is this power being used only for the benefit of public office holders?” The choose requested. “Please inform which part was invoked within the case of Mohsin Baig? [Reham Khan’s] The ebook can also include some good issues in regards to the minister however the FIA ​​admitted that one thing was mistaken and arrested the person the identical day with out questioning. Did you analyze the entire state of affairs earlier than submitting the criticism?” Justice Minallah additional inquired.

The IHC CJ additionally mentioned that the complainant within the case is defaming the Prime Minister himself and solely unhealthy minded individuals will misread what’s written within the ebook.

“Where are you attempting to take this nation? Where is there no criticism? The world is shifting in direction of de-criminalization [of defamation]The choose remarked.

During the listening to, Agp Khan knowledgeable the court docket that he had met the Prime Minister and apprised him of the difficulty.

“When this ordinance came into force, we found that this law can be misused. I myself had raised three or four issues with the PM,” Khan mentioned.

AGP mentioned that in keeping with them there is no such thing as a want to manage any individual or TV program beneath PECA. “I don’t think this amendment can be upheld, we are ready to talk to all media representatives and stakeholders on this issue,” he mentioned.

He additional mentioned that when the Prime Minister was apprised of the difficulty, he himself expressed shock at Section 20 of the Ordinance and questioned how this was allowed to occur. “I told the PM that it was our fault,” he claimed.

The Attorney General knowledgeable the court docket that the federal government was able to seek the advice of all stakeholders relating to PECA and {that a} fee can be constituted with out whose advice no motion can be taken.

The AJP mentioned former excessive court docket judges and members of civil society can also be included within the discussion board constituted. He mentioned, ‘I’ve conveyed to the Prime Minister that some issues can be withdrawn from the ordinance. We can even contain PFUJ, CPNE and all stakeholders.”

Justice Minallah mentioned that no public determine can resort to prison defamation for his personal acquire. He requested why ought to anybody hassle with what’s being written on social media as all political events, in truth, encourage their social media groups.

“If political parties ask their supporters to stop defaming people, whatever is happening on social media will be resolved,” the choose mentioned.

He mentioned the lawyer basic, on behalf of the FIA ​​and the federal authorities, assured the court docket that Section 20 of the ordinance wouldn’t have an effect on anybody.

“Maybe if all stakeholders sit collectively, this ordinance can be scrapped. But if it stays and defamation is made a prison offence, then all politicians in addition to v-loggers are in jail. This court docket can’t permit Pakistan to be transformed into India,” the choose mentioned.

Read extra: SCBA says no-confidence motion against PM Imran is constitutional

PFUJ’s counsel prayed that the AGP himself had acknowledged that he didn’t defend the ‘half ordinance’. “We are ready to sit with him,” mentioned the lawyer.

The Attorney General assured that the amended ordinance wouldn’t be carried out till a report containing last arguments was offered earlier than the court docket and that the FIA ​​wouldn’t make any arrests beneath Section 20.

To this, the IHC CJ mentioned that if the PM has given him the mandate, then let the AGP attempt, whereas the petition stays pending within the meantime.

Following this, the court docket adjourned the matter until March 14 (Monday) and directed the AGP to provide last arguments with regard to Section 20 of the PECA Amendment Ordinance.


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