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Govt moves amendment bill in NA: Ridiculing armed forces, personnel to be a crime

By Muhammad Anis
September 16, 2020

Govt moves amendment bill in NA: Ridiculing armed forces, personnel to be a crime

ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday introduced the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2020 in the National Assembly to make intentional ridiculing and defaming the armed forces as a punishable crime.

According to an insertion 500A in the Pakistan Penal Code Act 1860, whosoever intentionally ridicules, brings into disrepute or defames the armed forces or member of the armed forces shall be guilty of the offence. It will be punishable with two years imprisonment or Rs0.5 million fine or with both.

The statement of objects and reasons of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2020 says the purpose of the amendment is to prevent hatred and disrespectful behaviour against the armed forces. “Strict action should be taken against those bringing into disrepute the armed forces according to the law,” the statement said. The bill introduced by Chairman of the Standing Committee on Defence, Amjad Ali Khan was not on the order of the day. It was instead introduced as a supplementary agenda after the passage of a motion.

The National Assembly also passed the Anti-Terrorism (3rd Amendment) Bill 2020. This bill too was also not on the order of the day and the government got the motion passed for moving and passage of the same as supplementary agenda. The bill on becoming an act of the parliament would allow an investigation officer with permission of the court, to use techniques of an undercover operation, intercepting communications, accessing a computer system and controlled delivery for investigation of financing of terrorism within 60 days of permission under the law in force. The court, however, on the written request of the investigation officer, shall extend the period of permission for using these techniques to investigate terror financing for another 60 days.

The bill was passed amid protest from the opposition members who wanted an explanation from the government for including passage of the bill as supplementary agenda in the order of the day.