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Friday, July 19, 2024  
13 Muharram 1446  

IHC restrains FIA from making arrests under Section 20 of PECA ordinance

Issues notice to attorney general for seeking his assistance in the case
Justice Minallah remarked that even countries such as Zimbabwe and Uganda were also removing defamation from their criminal law. File
Justice Minallah remarked that even countries such as Zimbabwe and Uganda were also removing defamation from their criminal law. File

ISLAMABAD. The Islamabad High Court on Wednesday restrained the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from making arrests under Section 20 of the recently promulgated Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Amendment) Act Ordinance 2022.

President Dr Arif Alvi on Sunday promulgated an ordinance to amend PECA, 2016, which was aimed at “countering fake news,” amid the opposition, journalist fraternity, and rights bodies' concerns over the tweak.

Under the amendment, the government has made ‘fake news’ a non-bailable and cognisable offence and the punishment has now been increased from three years to five.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the directives while hearing a petition filed by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists against the ordinance on Tuesday.

PFUJ lawyer Adil Aziz Qazi said that the National Assembly session scheduled for February 18 was delayed just to pass the ordinance to regulate social media. “What were the conditions on which such an ordinance was brought in such haste,” he asked.

The IHC chief justice remarked that the FIA had already submitted a document of its standard operating procedures to the court, adding that no arrests would be made under section 20 of the ordinance.

“In case of violation of the SOPs, FIA director general and home secretary will be responsible,” the court observed.

Justice Minallah remarked that even countries such as Zimbabwe and Uganda were also removing defamation from their criminal law.

The court issued a notice to the attorney general, seeking a response from him on Thursday and adjourned the hearing of the case.

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Islamabad High Court

PECA