Governor asks Punjab govt to review defamation bill

He said that the Punjab government should review it again and remove the objectionable clauses

By our correspondents
May 24, 2024
Governor Punjab Sardar Saleem Haider Khan in this undated photo. — APP/file

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Punjab Governor Sardar SalimKhan is likely to send the defamation bill back to the Punjab Assembly.


Speaking in Geo News programme Capital Talk, Governor Saleem Khan said that there is a need to review the defamation bill of the Punjab Assembly as this bill is not the final word.

He said that the Punjab government should review it again and remove the objectionable clauses.

Punjab governor also said that due to the defamation bill, a storm has arisen in the country and to end it, if needed, he will try to solve the problem by sitting with all the stakeholders.

It should be noted that the Judicial Activism Panel has sent a letter to the Governor of Punjab to send back the Defamation Law 2024 to the Punjab Assembly.

It should be noted that the Judicial Activism Panel has sent a letter to the Governor of Punjab to send the Defamation Law 2024 back to the Punjab Assembly. It is contrary to Article 19. Its implementation will curb freedom of expression, which is a violation of fundamental rights.

The Jamaat-e-Islami has vehemently rejected the Punjab Defamation Bill 2024, denouncing it as a draconian piece of legislation.

In a display of solidarity with journalists, JI Amir Hafiz Naeemur Rehman pledged unwavering support to the media community in the protest against this encroachment on freedom of speech. During a media briefing with the Joint Action Committee (JAC) delegation at Mansoora on Thursday, Rehman strongly condemned the bill.”

Formed based on a rigged election, the current government lacks any semblance of legitimacy. Yet, it shamelessly proceeds to endorse laws that blatantly aim to stifle the freedom of speech,” he said.

Earlier, the JAC delegation, comprising representatives from the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND), and Lahore Press Club (LPC), met the JI amir to seek JI’s backing against the bill. Rehman emphasised that the Punjab government must engage in dialogue with journalists and promptly revoke the recently passed legislation. He asserted that resorting to coercion to suppress media freedom was unacceptable. Expressing gratitude for the solidarity extended by the JI, the JAC affirmed its determination to vigorously oppose the bill, including taking legal action if the government persists in upholding the legislation.

Meanwhile, during a separate press conference held at Mansoora on Thursday morning, the JI amir addressed several pressing issues. He dismissed the necessity of holding fresh elections, citing the existence of legal documentation in the form of Form 45. He advocated for establishing a judicial commission to probe election rigging, with results based on Form 45. Rehman further demanded the release of all political prisoners, emphasising the importance of upholding the Constitution and adhering to the rule of law as fundamental for steering the country in the right direction.

He condemned the attack on PTI information secretary Raoof Hasan, warning that such actions could exacerbate political instability. The JI amir called for a transparent investigation into the attack on the “Save Gaza Camp Islamabad,” which resulted in the loss of two lives. He urged the government to voice robust support for the people of Palestine and suggested that Islamabad recognise Hamas as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

Rejecting the privatisation of schools in Punjab, he argued that it is the state’s responsibility to ensure free education for its citizens. He pledged JI’s commitment to advocating for farmers’ rights and standing in solidarity with them. He criticised the IMF’s ability to address the national economy’s challenges, accusing the rulers of prioritising their lavish spending while burdening the impoverished masses with unfair taxes under the IMF’s directives. He also called for a review of Independent Power Producer (IPP) agreements.