Monday December 04, 2023

IHC dismisses Shireen Mazari's plea seeking revocation of sedition law

PTI leader Shireen Mazari moved IHC to declare Section 124-A of PPC illegal

September 24, 2022
The Islamabad High Courts (IHC) building. — IHC website
The Islamabad High Court's (IHC) building. — IHC website

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Saturday dismissed PTI Senior Vice President Shireen Mazari's petition seeking the revocation of the country's sedition law.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah dismissed the petition today for being non-maintainable.

The senior PTI leader filed the petition Thursday after her party colleague, Shahbaz Gill, was charged under the law in Islamabad and kept behind bars for over a month.

In her plea, filed with the IHC, Mazari had challenged Section 124-A of sedition in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

"Section 124-A of Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 may very graciously be declared as ultra-vires in terms of Article 8 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 being inconsistent with and in derogation of fundamental rights provided under Article 9, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 19, 19A of the Constitution," the petition read.

The PTI leader had contended that Section 124-A of the Sedition Act was being used to suppress freedom of expression, and it was inconsistent with the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.

The petition had said that sedition cases were resorted to suppress criticism and expression. In the petition, it was requested that Article 124-A of sedition be declared illegal.

Mazari had also requested the IHC that the registration of sedition cases may be stopped and an injunction may be issued in this regard.

"In the interim and during the pendency of the instant petition, the respondents (Government of Pakistan) may kindly be restrained from registering any FIRs, or undertaking any coercive measure in Sedition Cases under Section 124-A," the petition had stated.

Mazari had also mentioned that the British — who introduced the law of sedition to oppress Indians — have themselves abolished the law in their country.

The PTI leader had said that after acknowledging the value of the right of free speech and expression, the United Kingdom deleted the seditious libel through the Coroners and Justice Act, 2009.

The petitioner had also noted that several countries — USA, New Zealand, Australia, Ghana, South Korea, Indonesia, Scotland, and Singapore — have repealed the sedition laws.