ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Monday got Pakistan Army Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023 sailed through the National Assembly, paving the way for a punishment of up to five-year rigorous imprisonment to any person guilty of disclosing any information, acquired in an official capacity which is or may be prejudicial to the security and interest of Pakistan or the armed forces.
Federal Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar moved the bill, which has already been passed by the Senate, in the lower house of parliament. Addressing the house, Tarar made it clear that no provision of this bill is applicable to civilians. The bill will not have any effect on the ongoing case in the Supreme Court, he added.
The bill seeks to amend the provision of the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, so as to provide the structural underpinnings of raising and maintaining the Army.
As per the bill, the Pakistan Army upon direction or with the concurrence of relevant authorities of the government, may directly or indirectly, carry out activities related to national development and advancement of national or strategic interest.
The bill also bars dual nationals to take a commission in the armed forces. It authorises the federal government, in extraordinary circumstances, to retain any person of the army compulsorily in service up to 60 years of age with the recommendation of the army chief.
The bill further recommends that a person will not engage in political activity of any kind within a period of two years from the date of his retirement, release, resignation, discharged, removal or dismissal from the service.
Besides, any person who remained posted, employed, seconded, tasked or otherwise attached to sensitive duties, shall not take part in political activities during a period of five years from the date of his retirement.
The legislation also forbids personnel from entering into employment consultation or other engagement with an entity having a conflict of interest with any of the activities of the armed forces of Pakistan or its affiliated entities in a manner or position that utilises the skills or experience acquired during association with armed forces.
However, this provision will not apply to employment made after prior approval from the army chief. Any person who is guilty of an offence will be punished with imprisonment for a term of up to two years or with a fine not exceeding Rs0.5 million or both.
The bill also deals with the electronic crimes under which a personnel, involved in undermining, ridiculing or scandalising the armed forces shall be punished.
— With additional input from Radio Pakistan.
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