Fri, 01 Dec 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], February 5 (ANI): Pakistan's government has prepared a bill that proposes to change Pakistan's Penal Code (PPC) and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and states that anyone who scandalises or ridicules the Pakistani army and the judiciary through any medium will be awarded up to five-year imprisonment, Dawn reported. The draft bill was vetted by the Pakistan Ministry of Law and Justice and initiated by the Ministry of Interior for the prime minister and federal cabinet, as per the news report. A cabinet summary outlines the goal of the soon-to-be proposed bill as lately social media has been rife with criticism of the army and courts, as per the Dawn report.

The sources in Pakistan's Ministry of Interior have said that the bill will be forwarded to the federal cabinet soon. Titled Criminal Laws (Amendment) Act, 2023, the bill recommends a new section 500A. The new section is titled 'Intentional ridiculing or scandalising of the state institutions etc.'It states that whosoever makes, publishes, or circulates information through any medium, with an intention to ridicule or scandalise the judiciary, the armed forces or any of their member will be guilty of an offence punishable with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or with a fine which may extend to Pakistani Rupees (PKR) 1 million or with both, according to Dawn.

Meanwhile, a new section titled 500A has been added to Section 500 which states that the offender will be arrested without a warrant and the offence will be non-bailable and non-compoundable. The offender can challenge the arrest in a sessions court.

The cabinet summary states that the Pakistan has recently witnessed a number of scandalous, derogatory and vicious attacks on certain state institutions, including the judiciary and armed forces, as per the Dawn report. It further stated that it is well-known that certain wings have initiated a deliberate cyber campaign for self-serving motives with the aim to incite hatred against important state institutions and their officials.

It mentions that such attacks focus on undermining the integrity, stability and independence of Pakistan's state institutions, according to Dawn. According to the summary, the judicial and army officials do not have the opportunity to come forward and negate derogatory and scandalous remarks while appearing in the media. (ANI)

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