In what seems to be a reference to a newly proposed modification to a invoice that criminalises criticism of Pakistan’s armed forces, Minister for Science and Know-how Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday mentioned criminalising criticism is an “completely ridiculous thought”.

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

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

Submitted by PTI lawmaker Amjad Ali Khan, the invoice was accepted 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 at this time 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 remaining is chalked as much as “nationwide curiosity”.

The minister, in response, wrote: “Completely ridiculous thought to criminalise criticism, respect is earned, can’t be imposed on individuals. I strongly really feel as a substitute of [such new] legal guidelines, Contempt of Courtroom legal guidelines needs to be repealed.”

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

“Completely agree. Can’t state it strongly sufficient,” she wrote.

The invoice, titled Prison Legislation Modification Invoice 2020, at present states: “Whoever defames one other shall be punished with easy imprisonment for a time period which can prolong to 2 years, or with nice, or with each.”

In keeping with the proposed modification, which is able to fall below Part 500-A of the Pakistan Penal Code: “Whosoever deliberately ridicules, brings into disrepute or defames the Armed Forces of Pakistan or a member thereof, he shall be responsible of an offence punishable with imprisonment for a time period which can prolong to 2 years, or nice which can prolong to 5 hundred thousand rupees, or with each.”

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