During the hearing of a plea challenging the Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Amendment) PECA Ordinance, 2022, Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah reportedly issued a notice to the attorney-general of Pakistan and directed him to combine this petition with other petitions that are against PECA.

Justice Minallah said that it seems like no one told the premier that there are laws for contempt other than PECA. He was referring to Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan’s address yesterday. “It seems like PM Khan was not assisted correctly over PECA Ordinance,” said Justice Minallah, adding that the law is used against critics here.

The plea was filed by former president of Lahore High Court (LHC) Bar Maqsood Buttar. In the petition, it was argued that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) doesn’t have the authority to deal with a matter between two private parties.

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Previously, the IHC chief called the amendment “draconian in nature”. He said it is even worse than the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law.

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Last month, President Arif Alvi passed an Ordinance amending PECA 2016, an attempt to make online “defamation” of authorities, including the military and judiciary, a criminal offence with harsh penalties.

The high court adjourned the hearing till March 10.