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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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Zaidong, the ambassador, said China will fully back Pakistan’s counterterrorism operations.

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Reaffirming on Thursday that China will provide Pakistan with unwavering support in its fight against terrorism is Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Jiang Zaidong.

In an interview that was broadcast on television, the ambassador promised to cooperate with Pakistan and said that China will protect the interests and safety of the citizens of the two friendly nations.

Zaidong underscored that efforts to undermine the two nations’ bilateral relationship would be thwarted by China’s cooperation with Pakistan.

Also, he emphasized how crucial China-Pakistan relations have become strategically given the changing nature of the world.

In highlighting the transformative impact of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the ambassador reaffirmed his nation’s commitment to seeing it through.

In addition to creating thousands of employment, he said, “the CPEC has facilitated significant advancements in power generation and transportation infrastructure with over $25 billion in direct investments and substantial infrastructure development.”

Zaidong stressed the value of sharing ideas and knowledge between Pakistan and China, acknowledging their shared security objectives.

Stressing that both countries have a common future, he envisioned their partnership having a greater social impact.

Concerning the terrorist attack on Chinese nationals [working on the Dasu dam], the ambassador expressed gratitude to the Pakistani people for their condolences and sympathy and commended the government for its prompt action.

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Mild rain in Lahore improves the weather

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Early on Friday, light rain in the province capital Lahore and its surrounding areas improved the weather.

But rain also led to power outages in several areas of Lahore, as multiple feeders of the Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) blew, leaving whole sections of the city without power.

Details show that rain was observed in a number of locations throughout the city, including Model Town, Gulberg, Garden Town, Mall Road, Lakshmi Chowk, Gulshan Ravi, Jail Road, and Sanda.

However, the Met Office has forecasted an additional day of rain for the city during the next 24.

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The government will begin coordinated action against lawbreakers in the Katcha region

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On Friday, Mohsin Naqvi, the interior minister, announced that the government would begin a coordinated operation in the Katcha region to eradicate the miscreants for good.

He stated that collaborative efforts in the Katcha region will make use of contemporary technologies, including drones.

According to Mohsin Naqvi, all security agencies, including the police, should make sure that SOPs are fully implemented in order to protect Chinese nationals living in Pakistan.

He declared that any carelessness in this respect will not be accepted at all while presiding over a meeting to review the National Action Plan’s implementation at NACTA headquarters in Islamabad.

According to Naqvi, failure to follow the SOPs for the safety of foreign nationals will result in severe disciplinary action.

“We have to outfit our departments with cutting-edge technology to eradicate terrorism,” stated the interior minister. He declared that the provinces will receive all the assistance from the federation in this area.

Anti-state forces will be permanently driven out of the Katcha region, according to Naqvi. The interior minister expressed satisfaction with the anti-smuggling operations and stated that all ministries need to make sure that smugglers face stern legal action.

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