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Cabinet approves law seeking seven-year jail term for individuals spreading hate on social media

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  • Amendment authorises FIA to take action against individuals sharing hateful content on social media.
  • Proposal also recommends inclusion of Section 505 of Pakistan Penal Code in FIA Act. 
  • Cabinet approved the amendments in the FIA Act through a summary moved via circulation. 

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Wednesday approved an amendment imposing seven-year imprisonment for those spreading hateful content on social media.

Under the amendment, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has been authorised to take action against such individuals.

The proposal has also recommended the inclusion of Section 505 of the Pakistan Penal Code in the FIA Act. Once the amendment is approved, FIA will also have the authority to take action on any kind of fake news and rumours on social media.

The cabinet approved the amendments in the FIA act through a summary moved via circulation. The final approval of the amendment will be taken by Parliament.

In February of this year, President Arif Alvi had approved an ordinance of a similar nature proposing amendments in the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, (PECA) 2016. The ordinance was signed by the president when the Imran Khan-led government’s cabinet had approved it. 

The law, back then, proposed a five-year sentence for criticising state institutions, including the Pakistan Army, judiciary and others on electronic media.

However, in April of this year, the Islamabad High Court had declared the ordinance “unconstitutional” and directed the federal government to probe abuse of the law and submit a report.

The media bodies had challenged the “draconian law” in the IHC following countrywide protests.

Journalist associations, including the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), the Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) and some senior journalists of the country, had filed the petition through senior lawyer Munir A Malik.

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Hamid Raza says Nawaz Sharif used the Faizabad sit-in to criticize institutions.

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The individual asserted that they had proof of the PML-N’s betrayal during the 2017 Faizabad sit-in, citing knowledge of the protest from both General Faiz Hameed (Retd) and former Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa (Retd).

The PML-N workers in Rawalpindi were instructed to make sure that people participated in the sit-in, while the then-Punjab administration assisted in organizing it, according to Hamid Raza.

The head of the SIC said that while the goals of the Faizabad sit-in were correct, the event was deliberately planned to include individuals who carried signs criticizing government agencies.

During the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) sit-in, he said, workers for the PML-N were also among those who received money.

Remember that the investigation commission cleared former spy chief Faiz Hameed of all charges when it was established to look into the 2017 sit-in at the Faizabad Interchange in Islamabad.

To protest the changes made to the Election Act of 2017, which changed the word “oath” to “declaration,” the TLP staged a sit-in at the Faizabad junction on November 8, 2017.

In a submission to the Supreme Court, former PEMRA chairman Absar Alam said that pressure was applied to the media regulating body during the Faizabad sit-in by former ISI commander Faiz Hameed.

After the Fact-Finding Committee report was rejected by the Supreme Court, the federal government formed an inquiry commission led by retired Inspector General Akhtar Ali Shah.

The probe panel, however, handed the former intelligence head the clean pass in its 149-page report, which was released Thursday.

Faiz Hameed was granted authorization for the arrangement, according to the commission, by the then-DG ISI and Army Chief. Additionally included in the article was the inclusion of Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and then-Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the arrangement.

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Tajir Dost app: traders don’t seem interested in registering

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To tax retailers in Pakistan, the Tajir Dost app was released. The sources stated that the government hopes to tax 3.5 million merchants through the app.

Ajmal Baloch, the president of All-Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran, stated that he made reservations with FBR on the SRO within a week.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), according to him, cannot be a “Tajir Dost” because of its unethical actions.

Baloch believed that since electricity bills allow traders to pay a predetermined advance income tax, further taxes are unnecessary.

The trader, according to him, is already paying thirteen different kinds of taxes on the commercial meter. “A trader already pays between Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 20,000 in taxes annually, but you are requesting Rs. 1,200 per month in taxes.”

Mr. Ajmal summoned representatives of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to a meeting with the trade associations to talk about the indirect taxes that the merchants are paying.

Additionally, he claimed that FBR officers are charging the traders, the majority of whom are less educated, “monthly charges.”

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Temporary bail for PTI founder increased in three instances

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Details reveal that the ATC court considered bail petitions for interim release in three cases including attacks on Shadman Police Station, Askari Tower, and Jinnah House.

In addition to requesting arguments from the attorneys for the upcoming session, the judge instructed that PTI founder Imran Khan be present via video link from Adiala Jail.

It is noteworthy to add that the Punjab government has assigned seven cells in Adiala Jail to the convicted PTI founder Imran Khan, and fourteen security guards have been assigned to guard him. This information was previously communicated to the LHC.

Related: LHC revealed that the PTI founder’s jail security costs Rs1.2 million a month.

“To ensure proper security for Imran Khan, an accommodation of six cells has been made in addition to his cell,” AGP Punjab Khalid Ishaq stated in court.

According to the article, “14 police officers have been assigned to guard Imran Khan at Adiala Jail, whereas one officer is assigned to watch over ten prisoners there.

May 9 events
Following Imran Khan, the founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, and the former prime minister’s detention at the Islamabad High Court (IHC), violent confrontations erupted around the country.

The party activists were upset by their chairman’s detention, so they staged rallies in both big and distant cities. Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Islamabad called in the armed forces to maintain law and order.

During a demonstration, “PTI workers” attacked Army posts and the Corps Commander’s residence in Lahore, commonly known as Jinnah House.

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