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PTI’s plea for annulment of sedition law rejected by IHC

The Islamabad High Court threw out PTI Senior Vice President Shireen Mazari's plea requesting the court to declare sedition laws illegal.

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Shireen Mazari, senior vice president of the PTI, filed a plea with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday asking for the country’s sedition statute to be repealed.

The petition was dismissed today by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah because it could not be maintained.

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After her partymate Shahbaz Gill was arrested and detained for more than a month in Islamabad after being charged with a crime, the top PTI politician filed the petition on Thursday.

Mazari argued against Section 124-A of the Pakistan Penal Code, which deals with sedition, in her IHC petition (PPC).

“Section 124-A of Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 may very graciously be declared as ultra-vires in terms of Article 8 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 being inconsistent with and in derogation of fundamental rights provided under Article 9, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 19, 19A of the Constitution,” the petition read.

The PTI leader had argued that the Sedition Act’s Section 124-A was being exploited to stifle free speech and was incompatible with the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

According to the petition, sedition trials are used to stifle dissent and free speech. The petition asked that Article 124-A of the Sedition Act be ruled unconstitutional.

Mazari had also asked the IHC for an injunction to be issued in this case and for the registration of sedition cases to be halted.

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“In the interim and during the pendency of the instant petition, the respondents (Government of Pakistan) may kindly be restrained from registering any FIRs, or undertaking any coercive measure in Sedition Cases under Section 124-A,” the petition had stated.

Mazari had also stated that the British, who had created the law of sedition in order to persecute Indians, had done so in their own nation.

The PTI leader claimed that the United Kingdom repealed the seditious libel through the Coroners and Justice Act, 2009, after appreciating the importance of the freedom to free speech and expression.

The petitioner further mentioned that the sedition laws had been repealed in a number of nations, including the USA, New Zealand, Australia, Ghana, South Korea, Indonesia, Scotland, and Singapore.