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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) observed that Prime Minister Imran Khan has been misguided over the Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Amendment) Ordinance, 2022.

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard a petition moved by President Lahore High Court Bar Muhammad Maqsood Buttar challenging the Ordinance 2022 and issued notices to all the concerned parties and also directed the Attorney General for Pakistan to appear before the court on the next date of hearing.

During the proceedings, the chief justice, while referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address to the nation, said it seems that no one told the PM that there are laws for contempt other than PECA. “The law is used against the critics,” he added. He further said apparently, it seemed that the prime minister had been misguided over the PECA.

During the hearing, the petitioner’s counsel argued that they have raised new points in the petition. He adopted that the FIA has no powers to intrude in private disputes. He contended that this ordinance is against the teachings of Islam and any law flouting the Constitution could not be enforced.

PFUJ observes ‘black day’ against PECA Ordinance

The counsel argued that the ordinance has been against the fundamental principle of the freedom of expression and it is a violation of the Constitution.

He also argued that the ordinance has been promulgated to empower the FIA exceeding against its mandate, which is unconstitutional and a violation of the FIA Act.

In the petition, he adopted that the Constitution provides for a social contract between the citizens and the State and for the advancement of democracy as well as human rights, everyone has a right to freedom of speech and expression, protection from arbitrary arrests and detention, which cannot be curtailed through the impugned Ordinance.

The counsel contended, “Insertion of the new Section 4(A) is violative of the Scheme of the Constitution and seeks to burden an already overloaded judicial system with unnecessary “supervisory” duties and unconstitutionally confers powers to the Executive to interfere with the judicial adjudication process.”

“The impugned Ordinance is contrary to and in violation of international instruments, to which Pakistan is a signatory and thus is contrary to the international commitments of the Government of Pakistan which must be honored to maintain a standing in the Comity of Nations,” added the petitioner.

He said that it is settled law that any amendments to be made in a law should be done keeping in view that none of the Constitutional values are disturbed by such an amendment and that the same have been carried out thoughtfully, and inclusive of consultative process as laid down in the case of Vice Chairman Punjab Bar Council vs Government of Punjab 2021.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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