PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz has sharply criticized the PTI-led government for changing laws that would pave the way for criminalizing defamation against the military, judiciary, civil servants and institutions governments, as well as allowing legislators to address public gatherings during elections. campaigns.
Taking to Twitter on Sunday, the PML-N leader said the government’s amended laws were ostensibly aimed at stifling dissent in the country, but in reality they will be used against Prime Minister Imran Khan and his aides.
“Whatever laws this government changes are meant to silence the media and the opposition, but those laws are going to be used against [PM] Imran & Company,” she wrote on the microblogging site.
حکومت جو بھی قوانین بنا رہی ہے کہنے و تو میڈیا اور اپوزیشیا کرنے کے بند کرنے کے لیے ہےرنے لیے ہے مگر اوانین عمران اینڈ مپنی استعمال ونے والے ہونے والے ہونے والے ہونے والے ہونے والے ہونے والے ہونے والے ہونے. پھر نا کہنا بتایا نہیں!
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) February 20, 2022
Earlier today, Justice Minister Farogh Naseem said that under the amended law, the prison term for spreading false news had been increased from three to five years, while the offense was also made not subject to bail.
Addressing a press conference in Karachi, the Justice Minister said the plaintiff can seek defamation and criminal charges against the accused as it is now a recognized offence.
Read also: The government sanctions the defamation of institutions
According to Naseem, the government amended the Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Peca) Act 2016 to criminalize false information because “lies cannot be allowed to become the bedrock of a society”.
Critics, however, saw the move as an attempt by the ruling party not only to control the digital space, but also to prevent criticism of the country’s government and institutions.
“The Peca Amendment, through a federal cabinet-approved order that makes it a punishable offense to criticize the judiciary or the military, is extremely regressive,” said Usama Khilji, a digital rights activist.
According to a summary sent by the Ministry of Information Technology regarding the incorporation of the amendments to the Peca, it was stated that the Constitution guarantees the equality of citizens and the equal protection of the law as fundamental rights in pursuant to Article 25, paragraph 1.