A bill has been tabled in Pakistan’s National Assembly stating that “anyone who deliberately mocks, harms or defames Pakistan’s armed forces or military will be guilty of such a crime.” He faces up to two years in prison, a fine of 500,000 rupees or both.
Pukhtun Nama Web News
Amjad Ali Khan, a member of the National Assembly from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has proposed a bill to amend the Pakistan Penal Code in 1860 and the Criminal Code in 1898.
The change will be referred to as the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2020 and will take effect immediately.
Imtiaz Alam, secretary general of the South Asian Press Freedom Organization (SEPMA), said: “Freedom of the press in Pakistan has already been curtailed and the right to freedom of expression is limited, but no one can speak openly about Pakistan’s bigwigs and big issues.”
He added that there were laws that provided for life imprisonment and death because he said he did not know what the new laws were meant for.
Journalist Shamim Shahid said the draft law was against what he said was against UN law.
The bill to change the National Assembly comes at a time when treason and sedition cases have been filed against journalists in Pakistan.
On September 11, a case was registered against Absar Alam, a former head of Pakistan’s PEMRA, in Jhelum, Punjab province, for using abusive language against Pakistan’s military and prime minister on social media.
Another journalist, Bilal Farooqi, was also arrested in Karachi on the same day on charges of sedition for posting anti-Pakistan military and religious hatred on social media.