Pakistan: Government faces backlash over Ordinances to push ‘draconian laws’


Islamabad [Pakistan] (ANI): The Imran Khan government is facing heavy backlash from all quarters for amending the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016 through the promulgation of an Ordinance.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) moved a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) stating that the promulgation of the ordinance is based on “malice” as the required conditions have not been met by the government, local media reported on Wednesday.
“No emergency situations had arisen which called for the issuance of an Ordinance of this nature as it could have waited till the session of the National Assembly,” the petitioner argued as quoted by The News International.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP), Khalid Javed Khan while talking to Geo News criticised the Ordinance, saying that “the PECA (amendment) Ordinance will be draconian if it comes into force.”

“Since coming to power in 2018, the PTI has regrettably placed greater reliance on Presidential Ordinances to bring in laws of its own liking,” said The Dawn in an editorial on Wednesday, further pointing out that the Imran Khan government has introduced more than 75 Ordinances since coming to power in 2018.

The Ordinance was signed by President Arif Alvi on Sunday, after approval of the Cabinet. Under the Ordinance, the definition of a “person” has been broadened to include any company, association, institution, organization, authority, or any other. Furthermore, anyone found guilty of attacking a person’s “identity” will now be sentenced to five years instead of three years.

Another Ordinance was signed to amend the country’s election laws, allowing any person holding any office under the Constitution or any other law to visit or address public meetings in “any area or constituency”.

On Monday, the Islamabad High court, lambasted the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for wrongly invoking the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and PECA to arrest journalist Mohsin Jameel Baig asking “Has a martial law been imposed in this country?” the Court observed. (ANI)(instagram)

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