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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday hinted at taking legal action against those involved in running a smear campaign against him, his ministers and other office-bearers of the government on social media.

The prime minister, who is also chairman of the PTI, while chairing a meeting of party leaders and spokespersons, reviewed the current political and economic situation of the country.

The participants of the meeting also held consultations over the strategy to counter the anti-government movement of the opposition parties, especially, its plan to bring a no-confidence motion against the prime minister.

The prime minister was quoted as telling the meeting not to be afraid of the opposition’s “empty threats”, saying the sole intention of the opposition parties is nothing but to get ‘NRO’, which he is not going to give them.

“No matter what but they must keep this in mind that I am not going to give them any NRO like Musharraf did,” the prime minister maintained.

Allowing Nawaz to leave Pakistan was a 'big mistake': PM Imran

The meeting also discussed the malicious campaign against the government, the ministers and their family members by the media cells of the opposition parties on social media.

It was decided that the government will take legal action against the elements who are involved in running the smear campaign on social media.

The prime minister also hinted at filing lawsuits in Pakistan and the United Kingdom (UK), saying character assassination of honourable people for political point scoring is not acceptable.

The meeting decided to adopt a zero-tolerance policy against the character assassination campaign. Following PM Khan’s orders, concerned ministers or government personalities will begin legal action against the smear campaign. Earlier on February 20, President Arif Alvi had ratified the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca) amendment ordinance.

Under the PECA amendment ordinance, stricter penalties will be imposed for spreading fake news and hate speech content on electronic and social media platforms. The amended Act will also pave way for action over hate speech and fake news against the national institutions including the armed forces and national figures. Under the amended law, the violators will be issued non-bailable arrest warrants and up to Rs1 million fine.

Speaking about the PECA Ordinance, Farogh Naseem said the trial of the suspect nabbed under the PECA will be completed in six months and the guilty will be handed over a punishment of five years. The subordinate court will be accountable to the high court judge over failure to complete the trial of electronic crimes within six months.

The accused punished under the PECA cannot get bail, Naseem added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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