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Saturday, April 13, 2024

LHC strikes down sedition law in historic judgment

Journalists, lawyers, and PTI leaders are celebrating the landmark judgment. Slain journalist Arshad Sharif is also being remembered today as it was on his advice Abuzar Salman Niazi filed the petition against the sedition law. 

In a major development, the Lahore High Court (LHC) annulled Section 124-A, of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), dealing with sedition.

According to the details, the Sedition Law was challenged by Abuzar Salman Niazi advocate and others. The petitions had challenged the registration of cases under sedition provisions against those who spoke against the government. The petitioners stated that Section 124-A of sedition is being used for political purposes and should be struck down.

To clarify, the law states: “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.”

Read more: Fawad Chaudhry gets bail in sedition case

As a result, the petition stated that the law has been recklessly used in Pakistan as a tool of exploitation to curb the right to free speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution.

After hearing the arguments, Justice Shahid Karim pronounced the judgment and annulled Section 124-A of the Pakistan Penal Code, terming it inconsistent with the Constitution.

Journalists, lawyers and PTI leaders are celebrating the landmark judgment. Slain journalist Arshad Sharif is also being remembered as it was on his advice Abuzar Salman Niazi filed the petition against the sedition law.

“Today, Arshad Sharif did another favor to the nation. At Arshad’s behest, Salman Niazi challenged the said Act 124 A of the British Government in the High Court. Today the court declared it against the constitution and declared it null and void. The British made this law to keep the slaves quiet. It was still applicable to us today,” PTI leader Shahbaz Gill said.

Read more: Shahbaz Gill denied bail in sedition case

“I, Arshad Sharif, Ammad, Khawar, and Adeel were booked for treason and sedition under the same 124A due to which Arshad had to leave the country. And later martyred. Ammad Yusuf and I are still suffering in that case. Even after our friend Arshad left, he gave another freedom to the nation,” he further added. 

“Great news from Lahore High Court. Justice Shahid Karim strikes down Section 124-A(Sedition Law) of Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, as being unconstitutional i.e. violative of Article 19 dealing with free speech. This was certainly the need of the day. Well done Salman Niazi for filing this case,” lawyer Ahmad Pansota said.