Criticism of the Pakistan Armed Forces may lead you to land in prison for two years, along with a fine worth ₨. 500,000 — or both.
This was mandated in a new bill passed Wednesday by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior.
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The new criminal law amendment bill was put forward and submitted by the PTI lawmaker, Amjad Ali Khan.
The final vote was also cast by the ruling party’s Raja Khurram Shahzad Nawaz.
Nawaz, the chairman of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior, broke the 5-5 vote tie by voting in favor of the proposed bill, which was consequently passed with a majority.
During deliberations on the proposed legislation, leaders of the PPP and PML-N had argued against it.
Syed Agha Rafiullah of the PPP the PML-N’s Marriyum Aurangzeb and Chaudhry Nadeem Abbas Rebaira argued it would be used against freedom of expression in the country.
They further stated that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) government had voted against the bill even though the remaining three provinces were yet to do so.
“We stand strong with our institutions. Nevertheless, criticism in good faith should not be misunderstood. Why are they being made sacred cows?” they questioned.
Pakistan’s armed forces and their personnel would be free from any deliberate ridicule, insult, and defamation under the criminal law amendment bill.
Those who do so would be punishable under Section 500A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), with punishment including jail time of two years, a fine of up to ₨. 500,000, or both.
As per the criminal law amendment bill, critics of the Pakistani armed forces would face trial in a civil court.
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