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124-A: Lahore High Court strikes down sedition law

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LAHORE: Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday annulled Section 124-A, of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), dealing with sedition.

The order of the court came on a set of petitions filed by citizens challenging the sedition law on grounds that the government used it against its rivals.

Justice Karim pronounced the judgment today which was reserved on the petitions of Selman Abuzar Niazi and others.

The petitions had challenged the registration of cases under sedition provisions against those who spoke against the government.

It was argued in the petition that the sedition act was enacted in 1860 which is a sign of British colonial rule.

It added that this law was used for slaves under which a case can be registered on anyone’s request.

It was stated in the petition that the Constitution of Pakistan gives every citizen the right to freedom of expression but still, Section 124-A is imposed for making speeches against the rulers.

According to the petitioners, Section 124-A of sedition is being used for political purposes and should be struck down.

What is Section 124-A of PPC?

Sedition: Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Federal or Provincial Government established by law shall be punished with imprisonment for life to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.

Explanation 1: The expression disaffection includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity.

Explanation 2: Comments expressing disapprobation of the measures of the Government with a view to obtain their alteration by lawful means, without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.

Explanation 3: Comments expressing disapprobation of the administrative or other action of the Government without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.

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Explanation: The increase in inflation in the United States would cause electricity costs in Pakistan to rise.

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Electricity contracts between Independent Power Plants (IPPs) and the federal government not only involve capacity costs, but also have a significant impact on the economy and the financial well-being of the population. These contracts are closely linked to the inflation rate and the value of the US dollar.

Startling disclosures have emerged regarding the exorbitant electricity tariffs in Pakistan. The Council of Economic and Energy Journalists Sage, representing the institute, provided a briefing to leading journalists in Karachi.

According to the information provided, the electricity rate component in Pakistan experienced a 253 percent increase from 2019 to 2024 as a result of inflation in America.

The data presented in the briefing indicates that the capacity charges in Pakistan were Rs3.26 per unit in 2019 and climbed to Rs10.34 per unit in 2024.

The capacity charges imposed on the public incorporate the effects of both US inflation and domestic inflation.

Due to the rise in the country’s interest rate, the interest payment for energy has climbed by 343% during a span of four years. Over the course of four years, the working capital of IPPs caused a 716 percent increase in the cost of power per unit.

The electricity rate has increased by 12 to 20 percent, with 70 percent of the charges being capacity charges.

SDPI experts recommended the government to adopt a centralised tariff policy rather than a universal electricity tariff strategy.

The power generation capacity amounts to 23,000 megawatts.

As a result of the increase in solar power generation in the country, the capacity charges will have an additional adverse impact on the residents.

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Business

Significant surge in the price of gold in Pakistan

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On Friday, the price of gold in Pakistan continued to increase.

According to the All-Pakistan Gems and Jewellers Sarafa Association, the price of 24-karat gold per tola has risen by Rs2,200, reaching Rs249,000.

The price of 10-gram 24-karat gold increased by Rs1,886, reaching a total of Rs213,477. On Thursday, the cost of 10 grammes of 22-karat gold was Rs195,687.

The global gold market likewise had a rising trajectory. As per APGJSA, the worldwide rate was $2,404 per ounce, showing a decline of $24 during the course of the trading day.

The local market witnessed constant silver prices at Rs2,900 per tola.

Market observers attribute the increase in gold prices to other variables, such as volatility in the global market, currency exchange rates, and economic conditions. The ongoing surge in gold prices is likely to impact investment choices and consumer behaviour in the near future.

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Court ruling: PTI to overtake all other parties in the National Assembly

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Eight independents and 84 Sunni Alliance members mean that the PTI will likely have 92 legislators in the National Assembly, according to sources.

PTI’s strength in the Lower House is expected to surge to 114 members if it regains the 22 reserved seats it previously lost.

As for the PML-N, they have 108 members in the National Assembly; PPP has 68; MQM has 21; JUI-F has 8; PML-Q has 5; and IPP has 4.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on the distribution of reserved seats, the 77 extra seats meant for women and minorities were taken away from the PML-N, PPP, MQM, and JUI.

The electoral commission had on May 13 suspended the 77 Sunni Ittehad Council reserved seats on directives from the Supreme Court. 22 National Assembly seats and 55 provincial assembly seats are among the contested seats.

There are eleven seats from Punjab and eight from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the National Assembly that are up for debate among women. The suspended seats also include three seats that are designated for minorities. In the National Assembly, the PPP received five seats, the JUI received three, and the PML-N received fourteen of the 22 heavily contested seats.

There are no longer any allocated seats for minorities or women in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, with 21 seats for women. In addition to the JUI-F, the PML-N was allotted seven seats, the PPP seven, and the ANP one.

The Supreme Court’s decision has suspended the three minority seats and the 24 reserved seats for women in the Punjab Assembly. The PML-N received 23, the PPP received 2, the PML-Q received 1, and the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party received 1 in Punjab.

There are now no longer any designated seats in the Sindh Assembly for women and minorities. MQM was allotted one reserved seat out of these, and the PPP two.

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