ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice President and former minister Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday hailed as “historic” the Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict, whereby it struck down Section 124-A of the Pakistan Penal Code that pertains to sedition.
Fawad took to twitter and retweeted Advocate Abuzar Salman Niazi ‘s tweet, who moved the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the colonial-era law.
“Congratulations, Salman Niazi, you have done a huge service to the nation. Shaheed Arshad Sharif must be smiling in the heavens. stay blessed,” wrote Fawad Ch in his tweet.
He said: “the Lahore High Court declared Section 124-A of the criminal law in conflict with the Constitution, whereby recognising the constitutional right to criticise state institutions.”
“This decision will end dozens of politically-motivated cases, including case against me. It is a very high decision that recognizes freedom,” Fawad Ch noted.
Earlier in the day, Justice Shahid Karim of the LHC pronounced the verdict that invalidated Section 124-A of the Pakistan Penal Code, commonly known as sedition law, which pertains to the crime of sedition or inciting “disaffection” against the government.
Justice Karim pronounced the decision in response to identical petitions seeking annulment of the law. A written ruling will be issued later.
The law states: “Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Federal or Provincial Government established by law shall be punished with imprisonment for life to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.”
The petitioners urged the court to declare Section 124-A of the PPC as “ultra-vires in terms of Article 8 of the Constitution being inconsistent with and in derogation of fundamental rights provided under Article 9, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 19, 19A of the Constitution”.
They argued that the law has been recklessly used as a tool of exploitation to curb the right to free speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution.