PPP to challenge the “draconian” amendments to the PECA law

Senator Yousuf Raza Gillani says that through such laws the government is trying to restrict the media.

ISLAMABAD: Senate Opposition Leader Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani said on Monday that the PPP would challenge amendments to social media defamation laws, calling them “draconian” and an attempt to silence the opposition and the media.

Speaking to the media, the PPP leader said they [the government] bring in draconian laws because they are afraid. “They want to harass the media, civil society and social media activists.

“Parliament can in no way be ignored,” Gillani said in reference to the enactment of presidential orders amending the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (PECA) and the Elections Act 2017.

He said that a senate session was held on February 17 and the very next day they presented the ordinance.

“They want to restrict the media with draconian laws. They want to intimidate their opponents by making such laws,” Yousuf Raza Gillani said.

“Did the media not cooperate with them when they were on the container? he asked, counting on going to court against the PECA law.

Read more: “PECA changes aim to stifle the media”

“Those who made the law will be the first to face it.”

The PPP senator also said the party was reaching out to other opposition parties to solicit their support for the February 27 long march.

President signs PECA and Election Amendment Orders

President Arif Alvi on Sunday signed two orders amending the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (PECA) and the Elections Act 2017.

Under the order, the definition of a “person” has been expanded to include any company, association, institution, organization, authority or any other. In addition, anyone convicted of attacking a person’s “identity” will now be sentenced to five years instead of three years.

The order also states that the whistleblower or complainant must be “the aggrieved person, his or her authorized representative or guardian, where such person is a minor or a member of the public with respect to a public figure or licensee. of a public office”.

Cases under the PECA will be supervised by a high court and the court of first instance must decide the case within six months.

“The court shall submit a monthly report on the progress of any pending trial to the relevant high court and shall give reasons for the court’s inability to expeditiously conclude the trial,” the order reads.

Apart from sending the report to the high courts, copies of the progress report will be sent to the legal secretary if the case is registered in the Islamabad Capital Territory.

However, if a case is registered in a province, then the copies of the minutes will be given to the “provincial secretaries of the prosecution offices, the attorney general or the attorney general”.

The order also allows the High Court to issue ‘new time limits’ to a case if it finds the ‘reasons’ given by the trial court to be ‘plausible’ and beyond its control.

The order also empowers the high courts to summon federal or provincial government officials to remove “difficulties, hindrances and impediments” they find in the case.

If the legal secretaries find that the case has been delayed because of the “president or any of his officials”, they can notify the high court.

If the High Court is of the opinion that the delay in settling a case is the fault of the presiding judge or any other officer of the court, then it may initiate or “direct the commencement of appropriate disciplinary proceedings “.

The ordinance also empowers the chief justice of each High Court to appoint a judge as well as other officers.