PECA ordinance: IHC says it seems no one assisted PM properly

News Desk
Wednesday, Mar 02, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday issued a notice to the attorney general for Pakistan over a plea challenging the Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Amendment) Act ordinance 2022 (PECA).

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah was holding a hearing on the plea filed by former president of Lahore High Court (LHC) Bar Maqsood Buttar. The challenged law, that has recently been promulgated by President Arif Alvi, has triggered protests from media bodies and civil society who have termed it a “draconian law”.

At the outset of the hearing, Justice Minallah remarked that the court would surely hear the plea if it is filed by LHC bar's ex-president. The petitioner's counsel, Advocate Hassan Irfan, maintained that Maqsood's plea contains two different points from the previously filed petitions against the PECA amendment ordinance.

"The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) doesn't have the authority to deal with a matter between two private parties," the lawyer said, adding that the agency can look into cases directly related to the federal government.

Referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan's address to the nation on Monday, the IHC chief justice said that it seems like no one told the premier that there are laws for contempt other than PECA.

"The law is used against critics here," CJ Minallah remarked The high court adjourned the hearing till March 10, ordering to combine the petition with other petitions against the PECA amendment ordinance and issued a notice to the attorney general. The court directed the FIA to ensure that no action was taken against SOPs.