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Fawad Chaudhry thinks criminalising criticism an ‘completely ridiculous thought’

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Minister for Science and Expertise Fawad Chaudhry. — APP/File
  • Fawad Chaudhry, in an obvious reference to a invoice proposing stricter punishment for anybody criticising the armed forces, says criminalising criticism an “absolutely ridiculous idea”.
  • Tweet comes after journalist questions why we are able to criticise democracy, parliament, politicians and media however the remainder is “national interest”.
  • Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari backs Chaudhry’s views.

Minister for Science and Expertise Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday, in an obvious reference to a brand new proposed invoice that criminalises criticism of Pakistan’s armed forces, mentioned that he feels that such a transfer is an “absolutely ridiculous idea”.

Though Chaudhry, in his publish on Twitter, doesn’t identify the invoice, his remarks come a day after the invoice was permitted by the Nationwide Meeting Standing Committee on Inside.

Beneath the proposed modification, critics of the Pakistan armed forces will face two years in jail in addition to fines price as much as Rs500,000.

Submitted by PTI lawmaker Amjad Ali Khan, the invoice was permitted by a majority. The chairperson of the standing committee, Raja Khurram Shahzad Nawaz, broke the 5-5 vote tie by voting in favour of the proposed invoice.

Chaudhry’s tweet as we speak got here in response to a publish by senior journalist Mazhar Abbas who wrote that whereas a citizen in Pakistan is free to criticise democracy, free to criticise Parliament, free to criticise politicians, and free to criticise media, the remainder is chalked as much as “national interest”.

The minister, in response, wrote: “Absolutely ridiculous idea to criminalise criticism, respect is earned, cannot be imposed on people. I strongly feel instead of [such new] laws, Contempt of Court laws should be repealed.”

Later, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari backed Fawad Chaudhry’s views.

“Totally agree. Cannot state it strongly enough,” she wrote.

The invoice, titled Prison Regulation Modification Invoice 2020, at the moment 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.”

In line with the proposed modification, which can fall beneath Part 500-A of the Pakistan Penal Code: “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.”

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