The National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior has approved a bill calling for two-year imprisonment and a heavy fine of Rs500,000 for those citizens who deliberately mock or insult Pakistan Armed Forces.
The NA committee on Wednesday approved the bill, titled Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2020 which was introduced by the ruling party’s (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) lawmaker Amjid Ali Khan.
The bill sought amendment in Section 500 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). The Section currently states: “Whoever defames another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”
Whereas, the amendment which is to be called Section 500-A states: “Punishment for intentional ridiculing of the Armed Forces etc. Whosoever intentionally ridicules, brings into disrepute or defames the Armed Forces of Pakistan or a member thereof, he shall be guilty of an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or fine which may extend to five hundred thousand rupees, or with both.”
According to Dawn’s report, before its aprroval, the bill was opposed by the lawmakers of Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
“But the bill was passed with five against four votes when the committee chairman voted for it,” the report added.
However, the opposition members argued that the amendment would be used against freedom of expression in Pakistan.