President Arif Alvi on Saturday signed the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2023 into law.
After the approval from the National Assembly, both the bills were presented in the Senate. The treasury members criticised the bills, after which the Senate chairman referred the bills to the standing committee.
Later, some controversial clauses of the two bills were taken out and the bills were re-presented in the Senate. After approval, they were sent to President Alvi for his signature.
Official Secrets Act
According to the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, a person will be guilty of an offense if he intentionally creates a problem of public order or acts against the state.
In addition, if a person attacks or damages a prohibited place and the purpose of this is to directly or indirectly benefit the enemy, then it is also punishable.
Under the said amendment bill, the accused will be tried in a special court and a decision will be taken after completing the hearing within 30 days.
Read also: Alvi lauded for approving PEMRA Amendment Bill
The Army Act has provisions relating to retirement of military personnel. According to this law, no military personnel will be able to participate in any political activity for two years after retirement, resignation or dismissal, while military personnel or officers performing duties related to sensitive nature of duty shall not participate in political activities for five years after termination of service.
A retired army officer found guilty of violating the Army Act will be punished with imprisonment for a term of up to two years. Also, if any serving or retired army personnel scandalises or ridicules the army on digital or social media, he will be punished under the Electronic Crimes Act.
According to the said law, any serving or retired officer who causes defamation of the army or spreading hatred against it will be punished with imprisonment of two years and fine under the Army Act.
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