Five years in prison for criticizing the army and the judiciary

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Saturday approved a summary of a five-year sentence for criticizing state institutions, including Pakistan’s military, judiciary and others on electronic media.

According to sources, the government has decided to make changes to the Electronic Crimes Prevention Act. The federal cabinet approved the amendment to the Electronic Crimes Prevention Act through an executive order, a private news channel reported.

According to sources, the order will go into effect after the president’s approval.

Sources further told Geo News that the federal cabinet has amended the code of conduct of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), clearing the way for ministers and parliamentarians to organize election campaigns for their favorite candidates in the country.

“All political parties have reservations about the code of conduct introduced by the ECP,” sources said. The government decided to modify the code of conduct of the ECP by a presidential order.

Meanwhile, Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said on Saturday that two important bills had been sent to the federal cabinet for approval.

The minister said in a tweet: “According to the first proposal, parliamentarians would be allowed to participate in the election campaign. While under the other, insulting people’s dignity on social media has become a punishable offence.”

Fawad explained that under the bill, regarding insulting the dignity of others on social media, courts are required to decide such cases within six months.

Meanwhile, Fawad stressed the importance of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s upcoming visit to Russia, calling it “great and game-changing for the two countries’ bilateral relations”.

“It will be a big game-changing visit, and by the grace of Almighty Allah, and now after China, Pakistan’s relationship with Russia will get even stronger,” he said. addressing the media here.

He said it came after 23 years since Russia had invited any Pakistani leader to Moscow, which reflected Prime Minister Imran Khan’s leadership qualities. He said Russian President Putin had shown great respect to Prime Minister Imran Khan, which is rarely given to a leader.

Fawad said Prime Minister Imran Khan was of such high stature that his position was always recognized globally, whether on Islamophobia, regional or international issues. He said there was no leader of Imran Khan’s stature in the country, calling all political opponents Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Maryam Safdar and Shehbaz Sharif “dwarfs”. before the Prime Minister.

He said opposition leaders had no credibility at home and abroad because of their corrupt practices, and “nobody is ready to listen to them”.

He asked Maryam Safdar to return the money looted by her family if she supported the country. “We took a billion dollars from the IMF and the value of the apartment that Maryam’s brother, Hassan Nawaz, owns in London is also the same. If she brings that money back, it will help us overcome our difficulties.”

The minister said the opposition had neither the courage nor the political prowess to present a motion of no confidence in the prime minister. “Those who try to deny us trust don’t have the trust of their own family.”

He said those who could not succeed in the Senate of Pakistan, where they had a majority, were unable to overthrow the government in the National Assembly. He challenged the opposition to bring non-confidence tomorrow instead of the other day.

Fawad said he was confident that the PTI governments in Punjab and Center faced no threat from the opposition. “At this stage, no change will come out of nowhere because no one leaves the government if they are strong.”

To a question, he confirmed the plan to induct ministers of state in departments where federal ministers were in charge of party offices.

Meanwhile, the opposition has strongly opposed reports that the government is aiming to push through important legislation through the order, which would declare online defamation a punishable offense and allow parliamentarians to participate in election campaigning and said the presidential order was a weapon. ignoring Parliament for important laws is an insult to democratic traditions and to Parliament.

Commenting on reports of the government’s intentions to bring in an order to amend the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (PECA Act 2016), Senator Irfan Siddiqui of the PMLN said that the abrupt annulment of the Assembly national two days after the session of the Senate and the convocation of the The session of the Assembly indicates that the malevolent government has design to bring an ordinance and passing the Parliament.

He said it is very regrettable to deliberately ignore the parliament and create a special atmosphere for the enactment of the ordinance.

Irfan Siddiqui said the imposition of ordinances on sensitive issues like freedom of speech is a very negative step for any democratic society.

He said that when the prime minister and ministers lead the election campaign, they will use the authority of the state to ensure the success of their candidate while the opposition does not have the authority of the state.

Former Senate Speaker Senator Mian Raza Rabbani said the President has been and continues to issue ordinances, as an alternative to Parliament legislation, without meeting the requirements or applying its spirit as required by the Article 89 of the 1973 Constitution. “Parliament will think what action against the President should be taken,” he said.

He said that Parliament has been rendered superfluous because it has two main functions, legislation and parliamentary control, which practically do not exist. “Law making has been replaced by the rule of ordinances or the bulldozer of laws,” he said.

Meanwhile, JEW has rejected the change made to the code of conduct of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) by the federal government, saying that only the ECP has the power to make such changes.

JEW Senator Kamran Murtaza said that according to Article 218 of the Constitution of Pakistan, it is the responsibility of the ECP to hold free and fair elections and if it is the responsibility of the ECP , the authority to make any changes to the Code of Conduct also rests with the ECP.

He further stated that by imposing such a change through a presidential order, the federal cabinet was humiliating itself. They are changing the code of conduct but will oppose it in the future.

Commenting on the development, Dr Osama Siddique, a leading legal scholar who taught law at Harvard University, said: “It seems the government is both very keen to make sure they use its control over the state apparatus to its maximum advantage and keen to suppress any criticism and dissent. This is a very short-sighted and self-serving thought that is oblivious to how susceptible such hasty legislation will be. to be hijacked in the future and to chill freedom of expression.

He said the government should think about what is good for wider politics and also when it will have to sit in opposition. “Angry politicians make bad laws,” he concluded. -By our correspondents

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