Islamabad, Pakistan: The new laws were passed by the means of an ordinance, signed by President Arif Alvi on Sunday, after cabinet approval. 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.
Amendment was also made to 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”.
Condemning the law, the opposition parties, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) said that the legislation through ordinance amounts to denying a national debate and depriving Parliament of its constitutional right of legislation, reported The News International on Monday.
Tweeting in Urdu, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz said, “Whatever laws this government is making are meant to silence the media and the opposition, but these laws are going to be used against ImranCompany. Don’t say that you hadn’t been warned.”PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman said that this is not about regulating fake news, but shutting down criticism. “The PTI has created a republic of fear with its draconian and suppression of democratic rights and freedom of expression,” the media outlet quoted her as saying.
Denouncing the law placing fetters on the fundamental rights of citizens, representatives of media and journalist organizations in Pakistan, walked out of a meeting with the officials of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
On the same day, The Islamabad High court on Monday, lambasted the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), for wrongly invoking the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca to arrest journalist, Moshin Jameel Baig.
“Do you think there is no rule of law?” asked Justice Minallah, asking further, “Has a martial law been imposed in this country?”Meanwhile, the opposition parties in Pakistan are planning to bring a no-confidence motion to oust the Imran Khan government.