ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Islamabad (IHC) on Wednesday ordered the government not to arrest people under Section 20 of the recently announced Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Amendment) Act 2022.
President Dr. Arif Alvi announced a law on February 20 amending the PECA, 2016, making cyberbullying a bailable, tangible offense. Following the amendment, the prison term was extended from three years to five years for the FIA to give more powers.
The other day the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) had filed a lawsuit against IHC against PECA law 2022.
Taking the PFUJ application, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued a notice to the government and barred it from arresting people under the law.
At the start of today’s hearing, PFUJ lawyer Adil Aziz Qazi said the government had deliberately postponed a meeting scheduled for the National Assembly (NA) on February 18 to introduce the law.
“What were the circumstances under which the government immediately passed this law?” asked the lawyer.
In this case, the judge noted that the FIA had already brought in SOPs regarding raids and arrests. The court also ordered that no arrests be made for any complaint registered under Section 20.
“The secretary of the interior and the DG FIA will be prosecuted if the SOPs are not followed up,” Judge Minallah warned.
“There should be no law to discredit public representatives,” Justice Minallah noted.
Meanwhile, the court requested the assistance of Pakistan’s attorney general in the case and adjourned it until February 24.
Amendments to Section 20 of the PECA Act:
a- In a separate article, the term “nature will be abandoned.
b- In subsection (1) the “natural” land will be abandoned and on land “three” the word “five” will be substituted for (2) and then at the end of the colon, a stop will be replaced. this system will be omitted.
c- After subsection (1), as amended as mentioned above, the following subsection will be inserted, namely-
“(1A) A lender or a complainant in respect of an offense under subsection (1) shall be a violent person, his or her authorized representative, or his or her guardian when that person is a minor or a member of the community in relation to the community. person or government official, ”and
d- Subsection (2), of the expression “Any victim or his or her guardian, when that person is young,” the expression “Any victim, his or her authorized representative, or guardian, where that person is minor, or a member of the public in relation to a person prominent in the community or in government ”will be replaced.
Here, three years’ imprisonment for defamation has been increased to five years and the section on PEMRA has been deleted. While two new pairs were added to the action.
Media organizations, human rights organizations, bar councils, and political parties have opposed the government’s move and have repeatedly called for an attempt to suppress the media.