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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), Friday, reserved its verdict on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shireen Mazari’s petition against Section 124-A of the sedition law of the Pakistan Penal Code.

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the petition moved by the PTI leader and former federal minister Mazari who appeared before the court along with her lawyer Abuzar Salman Khan Niazi advocate.

During the hearing, Mazari’s counsel informed the bench that Section 124-A is being used to suppress freedom of expression and this section is in conflict with the fundamental rights given in the Constitution of Pakistan.

The IHC chief justice said that even in the PTI’s government, cases of sedition were registered and legislation is the power of the Parliament. He said that the petitioner should go to the Parliament and the court would not interfere in the legislation as everyone should trust the Parliament.

After hearing the arguments, the IHC bench reserved the judgment in this matter.

In her petition, Mazari cited the Federation of Pakistan through the secretary Ministry of Law and Justice, the secretary Ministry of Interior, chief commissioner Islamabad, inspector general of police Islamabad, the Government of Punjab through its chief secretary, the Government of Sindh through its chief secretary, the Government of Balochistan through its chief secretary, the Government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, through its chief secretary, and IGs of all the provinces as respondents.

She stated that the petitioner craves the kind and gracious indulgence of this court into a matter of grave and critical nature pertaining to the public as well as the petitioner’s interest. She added that the instant petition called into question the constitutionality, validity, reasonability, relevance and legitimacy of Section 124-A of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, which criminalizes “Sedition”.

Mazari submitted that Section 124-A Pakistan Penal Code 1860 is an unconstitutional, unreasonable, illegitimate, outdated, obsolete, colonial, monarchical and totalitarian relic which is ultra vires the Constitution as the same, brazenly and patently contravenes Article 8, 9, 14, 16, 17, 19 & 19-A of the Constitution of Pakistan. She contended that in particular Section 124-A Pakistan Penal Code 1860 indiscriminately violates the constitutionally secured rights to freedom of speech, expression and information of citizens.

She, therefore, prayed that Section 124-A of Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 may very graciously be declared as ultra-vires in terms of Article 8 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 being inconsistent with and in derogation of fundamental rights provided under Article 9, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 19, 19-A of the Constitution of Pakistan.

She also requested that in the interim and during the pendency of the instant petition, the respondents may kindly be restrained from registering any FIRs, or undertaking any coercive measure in sedition cases under Section 124-A PPC- 1860.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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