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April 9, 2021

PPP, PBA oppose bill on defamation of armed forces

National

April 9, 2021

By News Desk

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Thursday announced to oppose legislation in name of disrespect for Armed Forces, while the Pakistan Bar Council (PBA) also demanded withdrawal of the bill.

“The PPP rejects any attempt to further gag the fundamental right of freedom of expression in the name of preventing defamation and disrespect of the Armed Forces,” said Secretary General PPP Parliamentarians Farhatullah Babar.

Farhatullah Babar expressed concern over a bill moved by a PTI MNA and approved by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior, seeking to amend the PPC to send anyone to jail for two years with fine Rs500,000 or both for what has been described as ‘defamation of the army”.

He said Section 500 of the PPC already provides punishment for the defamation of anyone, and the addition of Section 500-A is aimed only at gagging freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution in the name of national security. “It is not acceptable and will be opposed at every platform,” he said.

He said defence forces working within their constitutional limits are universally admired and do not need any legislation to protect their honour and respect. Similarly, he said no legislation can stop people from questioning those who transgress their limits with impunity.

The PBA, in its statement, said the bill clashed with Article 19 of the Constitution.

In the statement it is said that no patriotic Pakistani can think to criticise Armed Forces but the institutions should work under their constitutional domain. It suspected that proposed bill would be used as a tool to harass political rivals.

The PBA threatened to move the judicial forum concerned if the bill was not withdrawn or it got passed by the Parliament.